Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Endings Are Hard

Friday mornings I volunteer in Molly's classroom. It is their language arts block. Sometimes I help with small groups or centers. Sometimes I do a read aloud. Sometimes I am just there to be an extra pair hands to help out. This past Friday, the class was beginning the process of learning how to do their animal research reports for animal fair. The third grade Animal Fair is a big deal. Molly has been talking about it for years. There has been great anticipation as to what animal she would get to research. She knows that Shannon had the dolphin. She remembers Timmy's eagle, and who can forget that Ryan got his favorite animal the chimpanzee. Molly was thrilled to get the wild horse. 

But after a few teacher guided lessons, a group of students had to finish their written narrative stories. Molly was one of them. Molly was writing her narrative about the time she broke her arm in New York. Molly said to me, "I'm not good at endings. I always seem to be able to get my beginnings started, my middles are great, but then my middles get longer and longer because I can never come up with a great ending. I'm not good at endings."

"I'm not good at endings"

This stuck with me throughout the day. January is organization month for me. After Christmas, like so many others, I want to get rid of the old to make room for the new. I have cleaned out kids' bedrooms and closets. I have organized closets and cabinets and drawers in the basement. And Molly and I have cleaned out her Barbie room in the basement as well. Yes, she has a whole room dedicated to Barbie houses and American Girl stuff. It is a place where she can set up all her stuff and close the door and the boys will leave her alone. But she was ready to get rid of some of her stuff. We have gone through every bin and we had a pile of unwanted play food and pots and pans, Pet Shop animals, and My Little Ponies. We had puzzles that she used to love and games she no longer played. We had a her first doll house and all the furniture that she did not want any more. We cleaned and we organized and we relabeled bins and her Barbie room is a little less a Barbie room today. But all that "stuff" is now sitting on the floor in the kitchen. It's been there a while and then I realized...I always seem to be able to get started with an organization project, my middles are great, but I'm not too good at endings.

 Barbies are always naked...just sayin'.

 Oh, what to do with all this "stuff."

Endings are hard, no matter what they are. I have this pile of stuff sitting on the floor in the kitchen and after making a million decisions of what we are keeping and what we are getting rid of, my energy peters out and I am left with this pile of stuff. I look at this stuff and I remember when she used to cook with her play food and wear the chef's hat and apron. Endings are hard. I remember when she got her first doll house of her own for Christmas because Shannon didn't want her little sister recking her own playhouses. Endings are hard. I remember her spending hours combing and brushing and braiding her My Little Ponies manes. Endings are hard.

But I push through to get to the end. I sorted through a bunch of stuff and gave away the food and the house and the ponies to Chris' cousin who has a little girl. I sorted some more and put some stuff in the back of my car to donate. I sorted some more and looked at stuffed that really needed to be thrown away. I still have a pile of stuff, but it's a smaller pile. Endings are hard.

So glad this house got a new home.

The Dr. Seuss quote floats around in my head, "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

And even though I'm not crying, I do get melancholy at times. But then I think about how I still have boys that will take their mother's hand every once in a while. I still have kids that sleep with that special bear or blankey. I still have a teenager that will have a Disney movie marathon and...I still have alligators in the bathtub.

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