At the end of January, I made the decision to retire in June, which makes me a lame duck counselor. It's weird being in that position. Around me, work life goes on, and increasingly, that life includes planning for things I won't be around to see.
I'm not sure how to act. Out of habit, I bring notepads to meetings, and although there's no need for me take notes, I write things down. So far, I haven't really been sad about any thing I'm going to miss. In fact, sometimes, I feel as though I am already being phased out. I can see my own extinction and it's a strange feeling.
But then there are moments where simple things bring me to tears. Yesterday, I was writing the final installment of "Guidance Goodies" for our school newsletter and I included an item about my retirement. I had typed a rough draft over a week ago, but yesterday, editing the final copy brought me to tears. Not the sobbing, can't-catch-my-breath variety, but nuisance tears - just enough to smear my make-up and redden my eyes, but not enough to constitute a crying jag.
I have spent the last 27 years building relationships - with kids, with families, with staff. Although there is no one thing I will miss, there are many small things. Drop-in visits from teachers. Kids who come into my office excited by a strategy that worked or a problem they solved. Hallway conversations with long-time PTO volunteers who have become part of the fabric of the building. Everything I will miss is centered around the people in this place, and though I will be able to replicate many of the activities, I will not be able to do the same with the feelings. It is truly bittersweet.
Now, if you will excuse me, I think I may need a tissue. Perhaps I should stock up.