Monday, June 30, 2008

And I thought I was reading it for them

On the last day of school, I felt the weight of sadness so heavily on my heart. I wasn't just saying goodbye to these kids, to see them in the halls next year as they moved on to their new classes, I was saying goodbye forever. I was saying goodbye to the wide welcoming hallways, to the staff I have grown to love so much. I was saying goodbye to my support network, to my community, to five years of growth, of people, of challenges, of memories... I was being forced out against my will before I was ready to leave. I was almost grateful that the kids were so hyper, because it kept my mind focussed on other things.

In the afternoon, I sat them down long enough to read them a story I had only glanced at. I knew the title and had flipped through the first two pages and thought it would be a good end-of-the-year book to read to my kids. You know, all deep and meaningful and that. Turns out THEY started whining half way through - "Is it over yet? How many more pages?" - but by that time, I realized I was reading it for ME more than for them, and I carried on.

I don't know if they heard my voice cracking repeatedly all throughout the book, noticed my intense blinking back of tears, or wondered why all of a sudden their teacher's voice was all husky, but I made it through.

I don't know if I fully believe the wise little train just yet, but I'm trying...

I Knew You Could
by Craig Dorfman

I knew you could! And you knew it, too --
That you'd come out on top after all you've been through.
And from here you'll go farther and see brand-new sights.
You'll face brand-new hills that rise to new heights.

I wish I could show you the stops that you'll visit,
But that isn't my choice to make for you, is it?
Instead, I can tell you some lessons and tales
That I've learned and re-learned from my time on the rails.

Fist of all, you must find your own track.
So you can start right away and not be held back.
But which track is yours? Well, that all depends
On which way it's going and where it might end.

Different tracks wind around, over, under, and through,
So pick out the one that works best for you.
Though the track you start out on will feel like "the one,"
You might take a few more before you are done.
And now, with your eyes on your new destination,
Start up your wheels and roll out of the station.

On your new trip, you'll make plenty of stops,
In deep river valleys and on high mountaintops.
Some will surprise you and some will be planned,
And you'll roll through each one saying, "I think I can!"

You'll go through tunnels, surrounded by dark,
And you'll wish for a light, or even a spark.
You might get scared or a little bit sad,
Wondering if maybe your tack has gone bad.
So here's some advice to help ease your doubt:
The track you took in must also go out.

So steady yourself and just keep on going -
Before you know it, some light will be showing.
And then you'll be out, heading to a new place.
You'll be ready for the next tunnel you face.


You'll follow your track through twists and through bends,
And stop at new stops and pick up new friends.
They'll all come aboard with smiles and greetings.
You'll have such great times with the people you're meeting.

On the days that you're sad and feel you can't go,
Speak up and ask a friend for a tow.
That's what friends do, so don't be afraid.
You'd do the same if your friend need aid.

You might stop at some stops that you never have toured,
And look for new friends, but they won't come aboard.
So you'll have to head out with a creak and a groan,
Setting out once again on your track, all alone.

Try to remember that the wolds is so wide,
Full of all kinds of people with their own trains to ride.
Just stay true to yourself as you travel your track,
With no second guessing and no looking back.

Once you're on the right track, you'll probably say,
"This one is mine - I'm here to stay."
Try to enjoy the track that you choose -
Stop now and then to take in the views.


And when your belief in yourself doesn't feel quite so pure,
And your "I think I can" doesn't sound quite so sure,
THAT'S when to push and to strive and to strain,
To show the world you're not a giving-up train.


There's more about life that you'll learn as you go,
Because figuring things out on your own helps you grow.
Just trust in yourself and you'll climb every hill.
Say, "I think I can!" and you know what?

You will!

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