My dear ones, today was your last day at SMR Montessori. You have been going there since you were just infants. For your first two years, starting at 6-months, you went one day a week to give Mom some time-off while I worked. Then when you were about 2, you were old enough to go to daycare and Mom returned to work. So easily for the past 4 of your 6 years, you’ve been learning and growing there. Today, that came to an end.

There was a ceremony of sort (Pizza & a send-off). Mom picked you up from school, and when you both came home, you were quite sad and showing it in different ways. Lucas, you came up to me and gave such a slow, soft hug. Your face hung low, and you said you were sad, but that was about it. Anna, you were far more distraught, going back and forth between wanting hugs, screaming your sorrow, lying down, and going into your room. You kept saying you wanted to see Ms. Lavenya just one more week.

Endings are hard, my dears. They always are. But you see, the joy hidden in the sorrow of our partings is that we cared enough to matter to each other. Our sadness is a reminder that we lost (or perceive a loss) of something that was important to us. It’s a way to reconnect to our memories of joy, and to tag them as significant to who we have become through our time and growth together.


Tomorrow morning, you have your first official start to your new school at St. Luke. Mom and I are both going with you to see you off, and I only hope that I don’t fall to pieces the way you did this evening.

You don’t recognize it yet, but endings and beginnings are a huge part of life. They are often where most of the learning occurs – where we solidify our experiences coming to an end, and set our intentions for what will follow. They are where we have an opportunity to course-correct, and at least for youth, to re-decide who it is that we want to be for the next leg of our journey through life.

There is one decision in particular that will slowly dawn upon you, though perhaps not for many years to come. That is the decision of whether and how open to be with those you will encounter on your new journey, even while you grieve for those you just left behind. I assert that one of they keys to a life of joy is your ability to continue through life with an open heart, despite the hurts and sorrows one endures. Endings are often painful, and the fearful parts within us can try in vain to prevent that pain by refusing to open up to others we encounter next. But be open, my loves. Be open to new experiences; to new friends; to new ideas and learning; to new people and to trust; to failures and to joy. Be open to all of these and more, despite the stumbling blocks you will encounter.

As the youngsters that you are today, I don’t think it has even occurred to you to close off in an attempt to avoid pain. But at some point, I have no doubt, you will come to that decision point of whether to open just once more or to seek self-protection. My dear ones, stay open. Always. Ultimately, that is the path to your greatest joy – yours and those around you.

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