Watching the kids excitedly head off for their last school day on the yellow school bus is both a celebration and loss.  We all feel a sense of relief that the routine of our daily school lives is ending for a summer break.

There is something quite ceremonial about the last day of school.  I certainly always loved these days as a child – playing games, and having fun as school  ended.  I am happy that our children are experiencing such positive endings at school.

Emotions for the end of the school year are intensified by the fact that we’re moving out-of-state in a couple of weeks and will no longer be a part of this school – this family we have come to love!  After a very involved school year with three children under the same roof, their teachers really get them – and us!  There is great positive reinforcement and support for me as a parent, as an educator whose been working in the school, and as a community member. The connections run deep and are meaningful.

It’s the most at home we’ve felt in a school and community since we were in an international school in The Netherlands.  It’s a special bond that only comes with time spent together – and shared values.  Because the three years it took to get to this place in our beautiful elementary school felt like a long road, it’s a greater loss to say good-bye to this school year – and our life.

The trust levels are deep, and the joy is great at this school.  Our children know they are loved, have totally thrived in their classrooms, and we as a family, have become meaningfully connected to this village of families.  Prayers have been answered all year at school.

Seeing our 7-year-old speak in Spanish with a “perfect accent” to her Spanish teacher makes my heart sing.  The children have learned so much more than we realize.  As we close this year officially today, I am filled with tremendous gratitude for all that this school year has given our children and our family.  I am also overwhelmed with a feeling of loss to be moving away from such a unique, heart-centered elementary school that is situated in the most beautiful area.

Our life in Alaska – our education in Alaska, has truly been everything we dreamed.  It’s extraordinary to see  the blessings that have come – the literal manifestation of heart-felt dreams!  Yet is hurts to leave  it, too.  Could anyplace every come close to this perfection?  Cross country skiing for PE? A Culturally-diverse and sensitive environment? Spanish-immersion that works? Our children’s pastor at school on Wednesdays? Rock-solid professional leadership and staff who exude true joy to be a part of this school?  How could this be topped?

This ending is also a new beginning – in North Carolina. We must brace ourselves in knowing nothing will be like this – for a year, or maybe for three.  God, please direct our steps and choices.  Please give us strength during this time of transition. It is an enormous leap of faith!

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11.