I’m not good at endings.
Someone please tell me I’m not alone in this.
When I’ve left jobs, I’ve always preferred the quiet transfer to the loud bluster of a last day luncheon. When moving vans have pulled up to our homes, I’m usually no where to be found, busying myself with something unrelated. When my husband was still deploying, I was ready to kick him out with days to go before his flight (I can assure you this one was a self-preservation tool; deployments are heartbreaking and military spouses are heroes).
If only endings would come and go with little fan fare. But the truth is, there are rhythms to ending a thing well.
In a little over a week, I’ll finish a year of homeschooling my fourth grade son. It has been trying and rewarding, unnerving and fulfilling. I’ve lost my on-the-go independence this year, and I’ve gained understanding of a son who I’ve had the opportunity to know more fully because of our time together.
This year deserves to end well.
For both of us.
As I think about finishing our very unique school year, I am chewing on a few words that translate across most endings:
Focus – Our brains can feel scattered near the end of an experience. Choosing to hone in on what’s in front of us to do can be the best way to ensure we close a chapter with integrity and pride. That’s not to say we’ll tie up every loose end, but by focusing on the main things, we won’t get as distracted at the finish line.
Reflect – Before our most recent move, I took a final walk on the trails behind our neighborhood. I knew we wouldn’t be back to this place that had seen our babies carried in backpacks and preschoolers searching for nature treasures and a stream that ran over our bare toes, so I went there and spent time reflecting on our experiences before we said goodbye. Reflection can certainly wait until a life season has passed, but it can be sweeter in the days and weeks leading up to the end.
Transfer – A helpful question to ask is who is taking the reins from here? A new co-worker? Homeowner? Family member? Pastor? Teacher? My son will be going into fifth grade this fall. I’ve already reached out to the registrar of our public elementary school to let her know I’ll be enrolling him next week. Designating a clear transfer of power at any ending helps to release control and move forward purposefully.
In just a few days, Henry will wake up to balloons and an ice cream cake to celebrate his final day of homeschool (a tradition I began years ago and will do for my girls as they finish school next month).
We’ll reflect on all we’ve accomplished.
We’ll end as we began—with curiosity, integrity and gratitude.