Unless you went to a small private college in one of America’s best cities to raise a family, you don’t understand. Last night my friends and I said goodbye to one of the most wonderful, caring, inspirational choir directors that has ever been and it was a very bittersweet evening. All of the alums sat together in a special section, and during the last song of the concert were invited to go up and sing with the choir. As more than sixty of us went up on the stage, emotions were running high, and as we sang for the last time with this great man, the tears began to flow as we held on to one another for support.
Because what we were was a family. We weren’t just some students who were at the same place at the same time with some non-committal faculty that was there to punch in and punch out. We were sisters and brothers, with professors that were like parents to us when we were away from home. They not only educated us, but also taught us life-lessons, and made an effort to get to know us on a personal level. They weren’t just THERE, but they were PRESENT, always available for a late night chat or a cup of coffee at the campus diner. They were with us as we grew into our own, celebrating successes and living through failures, navigating our accomplishments, and falling in love.
And so we BECAME. We became teachers, professionals, actors and singers, Moms and Dads, homeowners and travelers. As they raised us, we became adult versions of ourselves.
All the while I was watching the slideshow last night, looking back at my past life, I was remembering the best times of my life, the times that made me ME. And I was thinking how I would give anything to just go back one more time and do it again. Wake up one morning and be 20 and live with my friends and sing every day and have my worst problem being what to wear on my next date and if I was going to get nailed for not practicing piano again that week. And then we sang, and cried, and hugged each other and I now know the truth of it all. We can’t go back in time, but we WILL go through it all again. We will be the families in the audience, the professors, and the choir directors.
And the circle of life will go on.