I’ve Got my Ticket for the Long Way ‘Round

I held it together when I read them my goodbye letter with each of their names remembered, I did not cry when I hugged them goodbye, I kept the tears in when I sat in my empty classroom, desks and chairs stacked, our two years in time gone. I even smiled when teacher after teacher asked me if I was alright at our end-of-year barbecue. Apparently, I’m not the only one who dreads goodbyes.

Yesterday, the first day of summer, I felt antsy. I could not put my finger on it. There is always the anxiety of not wasting a single second, because this too shall pass, but that wasn’t quite it. I woke up at 7AM wide awake, worked on my book, surfed the internet, did yoga, cleaned the house, and went on a date with my husband to a fancy restaurant, a perfect start to six weeks of freedom. Time passed slowly as it does in the beginning of a long break, each day accelerates a little more.

When we got home and snuggled up for a British show akin to House Hunters International, my husband brought over his iPad and pressed play. As the words washed over me, I could not hold back anymore. The tears flowed down my cheeks, a few sobs escaped, and my poor husband looked back at me like he had no idea what he had done. A group of girls in my class surprised us one day with this song at morning meeting, complete with cups thumping in rhythm against the desks and the a capella beauty of child voices singing in unison.

The words of their song did not hit me then. But now, they’re right. I’m going to miss them when they’re gone, the way they talk, the way they walk, I’m going to miss them when they’re gone. I keep telling myself it will be easier next time, that I won’t bond as much as I did with these first kids I kept for two whole years. Some teachers tell me it gets easier, some tell me they cry every single time. Who knows where I will fall, all I know is I managed to love these kids an awful lot. I’m not going to dwell, but last night it felt good to let it all out.

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19 thoughts on “I’ve Got my Ticket for the Long Way ‘Round

  1. I am touched by your sensitivity, both in your writing and your heart.

  2. I love this song! (And the movie it goes with) In fact, just a few days ago, I used the Pitch Perfect version in a blog post.

    You are such a sweet person. It’s great to know that there are still teachers like you out there who want so much to see their students succeed.

  3. Love that song and video! What a sweet gesture. My best friend just finished her first year teaching and she texted me on Tuesday saying “It’s 9:30am and I’ve already cried in front of my class once”. And she only has her students for one year at a time!

    I think your feelings are normal. It almost reminds me of a break up — we think we will never love someone else as much as we loved our exes, but alas, we always do.

    • oliviaobryon says:

      Glad to know I’m not alone 😉 Definitely had a couple tears spill out before the last day of school. One child told me, “It’s okay Mrs. M, you can let it all out!” At which I giggled and immediately stopped crying. I like your comparison to a break-up, it’s nice to think I’ll love again, hehe.

  4. I am so glad that parting wasn’t easy. It means you were invested and so were they. ‘
    Tis better to have loved and lost…

  5. kingmidget says:

    I would never want it to get easier. As hard as the letting go is, it’s the difficulty of it all that says you did an incredible thing.

  6. It’s lovely that you care so much

  7. melanie says:

    I can completely understand your feelings. I have been in many positions where I have my students for several years in row. A few 8th graders always sing “For Good” from Wicked at graduation. It gets me every time.

    “I’ve heard it said
    That people come into our lives for a reason
    Bringing something we must learn
    And we are led
    To those who help us most to grow
    If we let them
    And we help them in return
    Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
    But I know I’m who I am today
    Because I knew you…”

  8. jasonrsaenz says:

    Finally time to decompress to all that you had invested. It’s been nice to witness what a dedicated, purposeful and caring teacher you are every single day. This song and video is awesome, I’ve never heard it before. That must have been great for them to perform it for you. 🙂

    • oliviaobryon says:

      Thanks Jason. It was a very challenging two years, definitely time to decompress. I’m hopeful the next two will feel a little easier 🙂 And, their cup performance was amazing!

  9. jasonrsaenz says:

    and also, I’m sorry I didn’t ask you if you were okay at the barbecue, I was a little busy having a disaster wedding. Selfish, I know…..

    • oliviaobryon says:

      Lol, I was fine, that question just made me laugh because everyone seemed to expect I wouldn’t be… And, your wedding was way more important, it was your special day!

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