Our Time is Up: Moving from a Small School into the Big World Out There
Our children have attended the Oneness Family School for the last seven years. Oneness is a Montessori-based school that includes in its holistic curriculum not only academic training, but also components that develop the child’s emotional health, social responsibility, ethics, and global awareness. And its teaching approach is built around the idea that fostering happiness and self-confidence in each child is the key to building a foundation for long-term success in learning.
We have loved this school so much! Oneness has provided our children a wonderful foundation and we, as a family, have thrived in the space of its loving and respectful walls. But we are approaching the last few months of our time there (our son finished his final year in June of 2010, and our daughter will in June of 2011), so we are starting to feel the onset of the “endings” and “letting go” that will necessarily and naturally be part of the process of moving from this small, nurturing school into the quite large local public school system.
“This is the last time we’ll experience Festival of Lights,” I shared with my husband, Raj, during the candle-lit program in December which featured each class in costume and presentation of a culture, religion, philosophy, or work of literature they had studied that had in some way showed how the “light” is all around us, in many forms. “I know, it’s sad,” Raj replied to my shared thought. “But we can always come back even after she leaves the school.” “Yeah, I guess that’s true,” I said.
Even so, I can’t help but see and feel the “endings:” “This is the last time we will have a birthday party that is involves primarily her Oneness friends,” and with excitement, “I have only three more months of driving left!” because when she leaves Oneness, she will be able to take the school bus.
In reflection upon this transition, I recognize that midlife is marked by endings in a more pronounced way than some other life phases, particularly as it relates to raising children. It is, for some of us, during midlife when our children transition from middle to high school and even more noticeably pull away: “Mom, don’t talk to me while we are at the school dinner!” Or, “Dad, you are so embarrassing, please.” And they are capable of and need to do more things on their own, which changes the parenting demands in midlife, perhaps more noticeably than in earlier transitions.
I’m certain that this particular experience of midlife endings and letting go will unfold in a reasonably good way – and that’s good enough for me on these less than clear-cut life issues! And I am happy to have a few more months in the care of Oneness as we sort it all through.
Here is a poem to wrap up this post:
We linger in the doorway, knowing that stepping
through means moving beyond.
Beyond the walls that for years have honored
us and past the windows that let in a hopeful
light and away from the arms that wrapped
around our uncertainties.
And I am thankful that there is space for our lingering.
Others patiently squeeze by in their comings
and goings, knowing that when the time is right,
we will step through and walk with heads raised high
toward the “next “ that is waiting to be embraced.