I love that line from the song "On the Road Again" where Willie Nelson sings about how he loves "seein' things that I may never see again." I always try to pay enough attention to know when it is likely that I am doing something or seeing something or someone for the last time. Last month, with my older daughter graduating from the 8th grade at her Pre-K to 8th grade school where she spent the last nine school years, we had a lot of people probably leaving our lives for good. For most of them, it's neither good nor bad. If I'm not going to see them again, it's probably because we never built a tight bond during the past nine years, and our kids weren't that close. I saw a lot of those folks that week, and I knew that Wednesday, when we said goodbye, it really was goodbye.
The kids and parents we were most fond of will probably stay in our lives, at least for a few more years, because we and/or they will make an effort to remain in touch, even if our kids attend different high schools. We've already seen several of those folks since graduation.
Then there were the ones we couldn't stand. Actually, really, there's just one. I like most people. For the most part, everyone I knew ranges from at least tolerable to delightful in my esteem, but there was one parent who never quite made it all the way back to tolerable once I learned her true character. Just that one. The one I eventually couldn't talk to for five minutes without muttering something under my breath. The one who is fat and ugly, inside and out, but speaks ill frequently about people she thinks are fat or ugly. The one who is the most gossipy beast in the school, and has no idea how poorly people speak of her behind her back. The one who is louder than all the others put together. The one who thinks she is literally the smartest person on campus — smarter than the teachers, the coaches or the other parents — who actually thinks we're all morons. The one who often tries to act like one of the students, not one of the parents, who thinks that snarky remarks about a 12-year-old girl are perfectly acceptable icebreakers at a school function. The one who joked about wishing she could bury one of the boys in the class in a hole and cover him up with dirt and rocks, and then seemed taken aback when no one laughed. The one who told her daughter it would be fun and funny to sabotage other kids on her team, and then bragged about it to friends of parents of the girls she sabotaged. The one whose daughter told the class that if she was God and could smite people, there would be a bunch of them who wouldn't make it through the day. She thinks she's funny. Anyhow, yeah, that one.
She is moving away and taking her smug little rat-face with her to another state.
On the final day of school, I saw her leaving, and without breaking stride as I walked in the other direction, said "Bye", and kept walking. It was probably the last time I will ever see her again. And that is a blessing. And I recognized it as such. And I smiled. Sometimes, parting is such sweet sorrow. Other times, it's just sweet.