After a long day of running kids around, sitting at my computer plugging away at code, building buttons, while doing house work and bills, the girls and I headed up to James Buchanan High School. The school is 30 minutes to the west of us and is nestled up next to the mountains. The school was having its end of the year art show, displaying visual and performing arts from the student body. They had local artist displaying their work and process alongside the students. I traveled down the hall with a girl in each hand peaking in classrooms watching students, teachers and parents slip past me to greet one another. I was there to meet the schools art teacher. There is an artist in residency program that I applied for and the art teacher suggested I come. I met up with her but I could hardly finish a sentence as she greeted every person that passed by. The girls were entertained by the whole production and bake sale items in hand we continued to pass through the crowd peaking at each activity and booth.
The school sits next to a big farm. This is not uncommon where we live as almost everything is adjacent to a farm. I love that part of where we live. The school reminded me of my high school I taught at for 5 years before I became pregnant and Matt’s job moved us out of the state. It was a pretty school with bright, happy walls, clean floors and walls. Each item was considered down to the furniture in the library. It seemed a smaller version of Hanover High.
It was an add experience being a stranger and spectator at an event that felt so familiar. I was the organizer and coordinator in our department and I handled many of the administrative duties. I did the budget, ordered equipment, planned and organized the shows and Scholastics. I remember walking down the hall viewing my students’ work as it hung on standing panels zigzagging through the corridor. I remember the pride I felt at what they accomplished knowing the work and dedication that was behind each piece.
I don’t think I was quite as bombarded by individuals as the art teacher was tonight but I was the quiet coordinator of all the effort seen and unseen of the work that was displayed. It is a funny feeling to be so comfortable in a situation where you simply don’t fit or belong. I felt like I did belong but I was painfully aware of my lack of connection. To walk through my hall I new the story behind each piece of artwork on the wall, the motivation of the student, their personalties, their goals, what sports or activities they were involved. Tonight I walked down a hall that was full but empty to me. I looked down at each hand and felt a tiny purpose squeezing back. Everyday, I miss my work, my students but I know the choice we made was the right one. I was happy to walk out and enjoy the beautiful evening with my girls. Perhaps one day I will feel that sense of belonging but today my work is here.