Dear Sangamon Elementary,
My heart is with you today.
I imagine that you are excited about the next phase of your life as you become office space, but I also imagine that you are feeling a pang in your chest as you watch those first- and second-grade students enter your doors for the last time.
If you are like every other mother, I’m sure that you’ve been looking forward to the days when your bones can rest and you can find that moment of peace and quiet.
My daughter, who is getting ready to go into her senior year, roamed your halls when she was 7 years old; and, with three kids at the time, I remember hiding in the bathroom for a moment of quiet.
I miss those days now. I know that the number of days that she will wake up in my home are numbered, and I can’t tell you how scared and excited I am. I’m excited because the person I adore will move on, as she should, and I am scared because the person I adore will move on.
Maybe you feel the same way, too. What does life look like when the people, the routine, the thing you know best, changes?
You housed administrators who pumped your blood and teachers that helped you breathe. Our custodial staff made sure that you shined as you aged. And our children clothed you with drawings of their faces and animals. You kept their laughs inside your doors and secured their possessions within your lockers.
I will never forget how you let us run through your gravel as we played on your equipment on the weekends; how my daughters pretended to serve me ice cream underneath the cave that held the dinosaur bones and how my son learned to climb up the stairs to zip down your slides.
The greatest gift you gave to them was a space to learn how to read and write. They snuggled up to your walls as they sank into bean bags to share books with their friends. And you proudly displayed their poems and stories for me to read throughout your hallways.
You’ve been more than just a building to us, Sangamon. You’ve been the place where we greet and reunite with our friends year after year. You’ve been the place where families gather for lunch or to celebrate a birthday. You’ve been a place where little bodies, minds and hearts have grown. You’ve not been just a place, you’ve been our place.
For many, you’ve been the starting point. And for others you’ve been the lifeline.
I just wanted to let you know that I am grateful for what you did and for who you were in our community. You hold all three of my children’s fondest memories of school. And, to us, that’s how you’ll live on forever.
And I just want you to know that I am excited for you, too. While I will miss listening to your bell ring at recess, I know that you will provide a great space for businessmen and women to create beautiful things, too. That is, after all, what you do best!