Last week I officially retired from public school work after 22 years. It was an emotional day starting with a rolling rally of students driving around the school parking lot waving thank you banners and balloons and arms. I headed home to be met with a gathering of my children and grandchildren, complete with floral bouquets, popping corks, and a lobster dinner enjoyed lakeside.
Of course laughter and tears were part of the afternoon, especially as I was presented with a few virtual guests. My kids pulled together a video montage of warm messages from my present day colleagues, friends who retired from teaching long ago, students from way back when, and even my trainer wishing me best in German. It was a joy to have all these special people share their well wishes to me via video. Each little message was like opening a precious package filled with memories and smiles.
The surprises didn’t end there for interspersed between family and friends were virtual visits from a few celebrities. Comedian Paula Poundstone made a cameo appearance and offered retirement wishes to me. Then my favorite designer from Project Runway, Geoffrey Mac, left me a five minute message congratulating me on my 22 years of teaching. Finally Food Network star Justin Warner popped on to share words of wisdom for my special occasion!
I felt like a star watching this line up of celebrities sending along messages of cheer. And while COVID has certainly changed how we do things, this video message filled with warmth, love, and laughter will be held close to my heart as I move slowly into my new lifestyle. I’ll now have a few extra minutes to relive my virtual party over and again!