Today was hard.

I didn’t sleep last night, in anticipation of getting to be in this space today. I thought I had prepared myself mentally and emotionally for what today would bring. But the truth is, I wasn’t prepared.

I arrived to this space at 8 a.m., finding it filled with silence.

No giggles. No smiles. No hugs. No familiar faces, or bright eyes. Silence.

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I looked around the space, feeling overwhelmed about the day I had ahead of me. My eyes leaked. My heart raced. I felt anxious about the allotted time I had been given to clean and pack and put away all the things that were a part of the lives of seventeen children and my own, just two months ago.

I went about the day, picking things up as I organized and packed, fondly remembering the moments of learning, laughter, silliness, excitement, dreaming, sharing, and loving that transpired within this space. My eyes did more than leak. I had not prepared myself for this day.

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I didn’t get to whisper the last goodbye into the ears of those familiar faces with the bright eyes. I didn’t get that last bear hug. I didn’t get the last eight weeks in this space. And the truth is, I’m struggling tonight, leaving this space.

So I’m sitting here praying that my 17 littles and their families are finding their own space in this time of uncertainty and upheaval.

I wish I could say a proper goodbye and hug each of my littles just one more time . . . in this space . . . where things felt safe. And happy. And peaceful. And joy-filled. And perfect.

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I wasn’t prepared for this day. Just as I’m not prepared to leave this space right now.

This article originally appeared on Facebook

Julie Everett

Along with cooking, I have a profound love of teaching--children and adults alike. I am an Instructional Learning Coach for Kearney Public Schools. I live on a lake along the Platte River with my husband, Jason. We have three children: Brittany, Gordon, and Colvin. I enjoy running, biking, long walks, painting, decorating, hanging on the beach, reading, and of course, cooking and eating! If you would like to contact me, you may do so by emailing me at: julie@jeverett.org