Today I walked out of Bear Canyon Elementary School for the last time. After twelve years and three boys, our days inside that brick building are done.

We hugged Mr. Mitchell at the door,

Walked out of the darkened classroom,

Down the hall past the library,

With a glance at the ramp into the cafeteria,

Signed out at the front office,

Said goodbye to the secretaries, who have known me as both a 20-something AND a 30-something,

And walked out the double doors into the parking lot for the last time.

And then, when I thought I couldn’t choke back my tears another second, I turned to check on my boy, and saw a tough 12-year-old with huge alligator tears rolling down his face. He couldn’t say a word, but held up his empty gray backpack and and covered his face with his arm.

And the reality of saying goodbye fell heavy.

Thank you, God, for giving this boy a heart that understands the sweetness of what has been. As he begins to let go, show him a vision for the possibilities ahead.

And never, never let anything take away his tender heart.