16 [+12] Candles

They say you’re really not somebody
Until somebody else loves you.
Well, I am waiting to make somebody “somebody”
Soon.

A few weeks ago, I had a hard time saying goodbye to my kindergarteners. 10 months, 180 school days, hours upon hours investing in their foundations both as students and as people, and it was all done. They were ready to go to first grade, and I was ready to send them. Mostly. I had decided that I’d get it over with during Morning Meeting but I couldn’t. Right before I started talking, I realized that it would be the last time I’d see some of them and I couldn’t do it. (Obviously I should never teach 5th, 8th, or 12th grade.) I teared up a little, which both concerned and amused my kids. But at 1:30 I knew I couldn’t wait anymore. They needed to hear one more time that I was proud of them. That I believed in each one of them and that I loved them. And as I took a deep breath and got ready, one of my students raised her hand.
“Yes?”
“Are you about to cry?”
“Probably.”
“Good. I like it when you cry.”
Oh, my dear sweet girl. How I will miss you.

In April, I turned 28. I’m one of those crazy people who hates her birthday, but not directly because it means that I’m getting older. I’m fine with it conceptually until I look back at what’s happened in the last year and see that I’m still not where I’m “supposed to be” at this point of my life. 27 was a year of goodbyes. I changed schools and said goodbye to my very first full-time class of kids and goodbye to my social life (at least, the one I’d had since my early 20s). After living 89 very full years, my grandmother passed away. The first roommate I had since I was 19 moved across the globe and my best friend of 12 years traded humidity for cowgirl boots and moved to Texas. I am burnt out on goodbyes.

Last year, I wrote a blog entry about what I learned in my 26th year and what I hoped for year 27. While I didn’t accomplish the goals I set for the year (at least, I don’t think I did. I met a few interesting men this year but since none of them have given me any rings…), 27 was in no way a failure.

28, though, is going to be different. I’m not setting goals for what I’ll do while I’m 28 because I know it’ll lead me to measure this year in terms of what I didn’t accomplish instead of what I did. Instead, 28 is a year I plan to live full of grace and mercy, both for myself and for others. To cook and bake for people and have them feel welcome in my home. To spend my free time unselfishly and be available when someone needs me, regardless of how tired I may be from a stressful day at work. To give away what I have to those who need it more. In short, 28 is a year I plan to love well.