Today was the last day of school. I had no idea it would be such a tough day for me. Closing out the school year that my daughter was not a part of at all was not easy, but was something I had to do for Jacob and Emma. Emma graduated from Pre-K and Jacob had classroom awards and the closing chapel for the year. I held up ok until it was time for chapel. I went to my car for a while and sat there crying. I watched families walking to their cars with ALL of their children. They were happy and excited about the fun filled summer ahead of them...the break that they have been waiting for. I remember it too. I used to have the same feelings. I sat there, knowing that I have not only a broken family. I have a daughter who should be completing elementary school, but isn't here. I also have a summer filled with agony and pain to face. I've always loved summer, I still do. Now my summer is tainted with painful memories, and a daily harsh reality.
I watched all of the proud parents as they watched their children receive awards for their excellent accomplishments in academics, math, reading and so on. I remember that pride from years past. This year there were no great "awards" to be received. I didn't expect any. I didn't care...It no longer mattered to me. I stood there with a pride that I have never known, a pride that I never imagined for my children. I was proud of my children for doing what no other child had done that year. They went to school broken and lost. They had to do their "work" despite the fact that they had been torn from their sister only one month before school began, uprooted in life, and thrown into a "new" environment that didn't feel anything like home to them. They had to walk into Ashley's school. They walked through the same halls that Ashley walked through. They looked for her in dissapointment and sorrow when she was not to be found greeting them during the school day. They had to face her teachers and her friends on a daily basis. I couldn't have done what they did this year! No award would ever be able to commend them for this job that they did so well.
School has been a hard place for me to be this year. I have managed to do my best each time, but it wasn't easy. I remember the end of the school year last year so well. I remember Ashley's classroom awards. I can still see her that day. She loved the last day of school because she couldn't wait to be home with us for the summer....but she hated saying goodbye to her friends and teachers. She loved school, but treasured her time at home playing so much more. The closing chapel last year made an impression on me as well. The principle encouraged the children to stand on the rock...on God's word. He challenged them to read the Bible every day. He gave them each a rock to carry with them, reminding them of God's word. Ashley took that message very seriously. Not a day went by that she did not read her Bible. I was amazed that even on vacation late at night she insisted on reading. I even argued with her one night that it was ok for her to skip one night since it was so late. She had planned to read through the Bible. She left off in Luke (which was her favorite.) I have begun to read the Bible to Jacob every night. We began in Luke.