Retirement has been looming, but now it has arrived.

Yes, the time has come for me to stop working – at the paying job, anyway.

As many of you know, my car ran over me a month ago. Not the whole car, mind you, just the door. But the door got me pretty bad – I fell and was stuck between the door and the ground until the young man helping me got the car in park. The result was a massive hematoma on my hip and thigh. For those of you who don’t know, a hematoma is a burst blood vessel. That’s essentially just a bruise, but this one was a bruise of Hurricane Irma proportions. It took about a week for it to travel all the way down my leg to my foot. And it hurt. It burned like hellfire.

So, I’ve been recuperating at home. I had hoped to go back to work on Monday, but that’s not going to happen. I’m still wobbly and my right leg has no strength. I kept telling myself “You can do this. You and do this.” But, y’know what? I can’t. The idea of pushing the cambro containing, not only lunch, but a case of milk, and probably a box of bananas or a case of cups balanced on top, is just terrifying. What if my knee gives out on the way back from the hospital kitchen and I fall? And what if a child runs up to me to give me a hug and pushes me over? That would be painful and embarrassing for me, and traumatic for the child.

These things are worrisome.

So I decided: It’s over.

I called work and let them know. I’ve had a wonderful outpouring of condolences and congratulations on facebook from friends, coworkers, and parents. I feel loved. I feel like maybe I have really made a difference in the lives of people.

That’s a good thing, to know that you’ve made a difference.

And I will continue to make a difference. I will go to school and sing songs and tell stories for the kids as a volunteer.

And I will continue to write stories and draw pictures, although…

My main focus right now is packing up the house for the move to Ireland, where I will continue to sing songs, tell stories, and draw pictures, and write and write and write.

Now I’m going to share some drawings that children have done throughout my 27 years of teaching. I have done my best to make sure last names don’t appear on the drawings, except for one or two who are on Facebook anyway.