Why I’m Thankful When Leaving Sucks

Most TCK’s could probably claim this, but moving and I are no strangers.  If “RAFTing” was assessed on standardized tests, I’d be highly qualified.  For the most part, I enjoy it–I love the anticipation of a new job and new place to live.  I’m proud to suddenly be abundantly knowledgeable about moving trucks and moving companies.  I look forward to driving across states and counting the state signs as I head to a new home.  It also means that I can’t accumulate too much random junk and thereby can’t cater to my pack-rat tendencies (I don’t want to know what my closet would look like if I were to stay somewhere longer than 4 years).

But despite the things that I love about moving, I’m reminded that with transition also comes loss.  Moving  means leaving things and people behind.  And there are many, many things that I’m leaving behind that I will miss:

I’ll miss the gorgeously flat fields of tobacco and cotton (and now sage) that stretch beneath a canvas of white fluffy clouds, and that make you lose track of time as you drive for hours across ENC.  I’ll miss the vibrant colors of a sunset that set the sky on fire on a clear evening.  I’ll miss the Southern twang that I will never quite be able to imitate, and the fact that when I go to the grocery store, I usually see at least one person that I know.  I’ll miss the generosity that Southerners show to strangers that makes you think, “Wait, have I met you before?”  I’ll miss the church bells that chime at 5:50 PM every evening that remind you to stop and listen, and being able to go running by the water.  I’ll miss staying up with my roommate and laughing about how weird America seems to us.

And as crazy as teaching has been at times, I will miss the moments when I get to step back and watch my students showing me a skill they couldn’t do at the beginning of the year, or see a light bulb go on in their minds as they realize that they are part of a bigger world and have a job to do to make the world a better place.  I’ll miss the pride in their faces when they accomplish something that they’ve worked all year to reach.  I’ll miss Student M coming to my classroom every day during third block (without fail) to say hi and remind me that I’m his favorite teacher.  I’ll miss Student C and K giving me a high five and fist bump every day on their way to fourth block.  I’ll miss Student D coming in and saying, “We had so much fun together last semester!”  I’ll miss my kids saying that they learned how to think in history, and watching Student A and W planning for what they can do for the school next year to help the freshmen transition in.  I’ll miss getting to the end of the year and having students write, “At the beginning of this course i really didn’t take this class serious until i seen how important it is and why us students need it” on the end of semester survey.

There’s more that I’ll miss, but to write it all out would get redundant.  Missing things sucks because you know you can never quite have it back–even if you move back later, it’s never going to be quite the same.

But more than anything, I’m thankful.  I’m thankful that I could fill pages with things that I will miss next year.  If I miss it, that means that I valued it while I lived it.  If I miss it, then it means that I invested a piece of myself in the work that I’ve done in North Carolina.  I would rather leave a place knowing that I have lived and loved well than to leave a place without missing any part of it.  I’ve already spent much of my life moving, and I probably will continue to do so; but I hope that no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I miss something about each place.  I hope that I continue to care enough about what I’m doing that part of me will always want to stay because I fell in love there.

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