When we moved to Georgia in 2008, I was hesitant to enroll my children in the local elementary school. It had a decent online rating, but some of the comments on the site was hit or miss, based on opinion and experiences of various commentators. Some absolutely loved the school and some didn't care for it at all. However, one opinion that seemed to be shared by all was that the 50- plus year old school was led by a fantastic principal who, in turn, was followed by a caring and committed staff. So, even though the old exterior of the school didn't impress me much, I decided to give it a chance. After all, I couldn't rely on people I didn't even know to dictate how my children's experience would go, and like my Granny always said, "It doesn't matter what you look like on the outside if you are ugly on the inside."
The first year we attended King Springs Elementary, I only had one school-aged child. I was worried about her because, as a first-grader, this would already be her third school. After growing up changing schools almost as much as I changed my clothes, I vowed never to let my kids know what it was like to be the "new" kid- the one having to try to fit in to groups of kids who had spent their whole lives going to the same schools together. The one hiding in the bathroom until lunch was over because I didn't have anyone to sit with in the cafeteria. So, for my first born this was another Mom fail, number God knows how many already, at only the tender age of seven. On the first day of school, I held my daughter's hand as we walked into the front office to be directed to her new classroom. There, a little girl her age was waiting for her to show her around. We were both immediately put at ease and welcomed into the school, where we would spend the next ten magical years, with my three other children also going through.
A couple years into our ten year stint, King Springs received funding to do some remodeling. They were completely renovating the front entrance facade and changing locations of the front office. They posted a picture of what the final plans would look like, and we were so excited to see the vision come to fruition. Until we were affected by the new plans, that is. Until we had to change a couple of things about our morning and afternoon routines, namely how dropping off and picking up the kids would go, and how the kids would be rerouted once they got into the building everyday. Some parts of the school would be off limits until the project was complete. It was an inconvenience that ultimately became routine, and every time we drove by and saw the progress we became more pumped about the future, and less bothered by the minor adjustments we had to make in order to help achieve the end result, which, by the way, was just as beautiful as we imagined it would be.
Eventually, King Springs became so popular on account of the wonderful principal and dedicated teachers, that lots of people moved into town so that their kids could go there. So many, in fact, there wasn't enough room anymore to fit all the grades in one building. Funding was finally granted to build a brand new school, but in the meantime, kindergarten through second grade would have to be bussed to another location. I was lucky that my kids were in third grade and higher by then, so I wasn't inconvenienced at all, but lots of my friends were. Especially the ones who had children in the lower grades AND the higher grades and had to split schools. It was not a quick and easy adjustment, but the prospect of having a brand new school to be proud of, big enough to accommodate everyone comfortably, was far worth the temporary sacrifice it took to realize the end goal.
In a semi- unexpected turn of events, our beloved principal announced she would be retiring. Semi- unexpected because even though we all knew she was close to retiring, we all prayed she would wait until OUR last child left the school. But if she had made her decision based on that sentiment, she would never retire. And just like that, the excitement that had been building over the completion of the shiny new school gave way to sadness that the sweet lady who was truly the heart of the place would not be there to grace its halls. Then again, there were plenty of people excited for the new principal and came to love her as the former was loved. And when they finally tore down the old school, including the once new, now old facade and front office, people understood that it was making a way for bigger and better things to come.
Our self-care and our lives in general are always, under construction, always a work in progress. What we once valued, we may no more. Our opinions may change. The way we see fit to parent one child may not be feasible for another or even resonate like it once did. That is absolutely ok. In fact, it should all be honored. Every mom fail. Every building up. Every tearing down. Every rebuilding. And we honor that most by first honoring the health and wellness of our personal beloved principal- OURSELF! When we allow ourselves time to continually progress in our own self-care by eating well, sleeping well, meditating and exercising consistently, we lay a firm foundation to build our lives, brick by brick, into the shiniest, most brand new creation we can imagine. And if we are really wise, we will do it again and again and as many times as possible while we are blessed to grace the halls of our Earthly school of life.
With love and gratitude,
Kinda and Rachel