We have had a lot of beginnings and endings this past week and a half, during this time we celebrated life, honored the dead and supported each other as loved ones moved away. As I write this, I am a little overwhelmed with all the big picture concepts in these transitions in the lives of our kiddos and so very proud and touched with the grace and love they exhibited as they experienced them.
At the beginning of last week, we found a young chipmunk in our dramatic play house. The little bugger appeared lethargic so we decided to leave him in the garden behind the play house to see if he just need some rest. The children were very concerned about him during this time, the teachers used this opportunity to help the children understand what was happening, research about chipmunk habitats, eating habits and health needs. By the afternoon, the chipmunk did not seem to improve and the consensus was to prepare a box for him so that we could nurse him back to health. A call to the Idaho Fish and Game informed us that sometimes chipmunks get cold overnight, become lethargic and would benefit from an overnight stay inside to regain their vigor.
Unfortunately, despite all of our efforts and his renewed vigor exhibited as we left for the evening, our chipmunk friend was dead when we came in the next morning. The children were sad and promptly began planning a funeral for him, choosing to bury him next to our dove that passed last year.
As they laid flowers on the grave, each child said goodbye:
“We had a sweet time while it lasted.” — Nicko
“Uh,…bye, chipmunk.” — Henry
“Dear Chipmunk, I was going to spend all summer with you. But you died. Love, Sabrina.”
“We were going to have a party, chipmunk, but you died.” — Makenzey
“Is it going to Heaven?” –Adriana
“Can I put my sunglasses on it [the grave]?” — Julian
Each child dealt with the loss in there own way from expressing lost hopes for good time; reflection on the short time together; the willingness to give up a prized possession (Spiderman glasses) and questions about what happens to him after death. The same day our butterflies finally emerged from their cocoons and were released in our garden.
During the same week we had two of our friends leave our program as they had moved to Athol. While sad to see them go we celebrated their new home and beginning. We also had one of our families say goodbye to their beloved father and dad as he left to serve our country in Korea for a year. Beginnings. Endings. Every day is a journey full of endless potential that ends when we all go home filled to the brim, tired and thinking about what tomorrow’s beginning.