“Are you pretty close to tears today?” someone asked me minutes after I stepped into the building.

For a brief moment, I thought about lying. Then, instead, I said, “I don’t get emotional at times like this.” It’s true.

“What is wrong with you?” he joked.

“I keep it at arm’s length,” I told him, literally holding out my arms and drawing a wide arc, a protective bubble. “Although my husband will tell you that it will inevitably hit me, but it will show itself as if it’s something else entirely.”

Endings. I don’t do them. Not good-byes, not tributes or farewells. At least not the way you’d expect.

About a month ago, I had my last professional development session with teachers and we shared appreciations and aspirations. I had privately written a note to each of them ahead of time.

Yesterday, my class of sixth graders played one last Kahoot reminiscent of our first day together where they created a true-false trivia quiz for each other. We had already done awards for everyone earlier in the week.

Today, as I logged them off Zoom for the last time a good eight minutes early, I blew two-handed kisses at the screen, alone in my office upstairs.

Immediately afterward, I archived our Google Classrooms and deleted Every. Single. One. of the alarms on my phone that prompted me for every Zoom meeting and even to take attendance.

Tonight, I write this as a ritual that puts things to bed in my mind. Tucks them in, reads them a story, and sneaks out of the room without making a sound.

Endings. It turns out I do them. Just differently.

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