Thursday, May 29, 2014


Petrichor – the smell of rain on the dry ground. Any Dr. Who fan reading this is smiling and knowing where I learned that word. But seriously, as someone who loves words, how did I not know for 40 years that this incredible smell had a name?!

Tonight we could smell it on the air. The storm clouds were dark and foreboding on the horizon and petrichor wafted through the windows and the screen door. The day had been hot and full of emotion and the cool wind and fantastic smell seemed to calm everything down. Petrichor smells like change.

Today was the last day of school. Today was a day of closing chapters and it was a day spent trying to further beautify my house for potential buyers. My fantastic friend, Kellie, again gave of her time and her organizational gifts to help out. This time she helped my eldest son work a miracle in his room.

When I ooh’d and aah’d at the transformation, she shrugged as if it was no big deal. No big deal to help a teen who was trying his best NOT to be bothered that she was messin’ with his stuff. No big deal to bring order to chaos. No big deal to bless me, asking for nothing in return.

Today was a day when I felt wholly inadequate at expressing gratitude to the extent it was needed. Today I thanked teachers, principals, school secretaries, and paraprofessional aides, for the amazing amounts of support and care they have given my kids and I. Today I said goodbye to most of them as we will be in new schools this fall if the sale of my house happens. New chapters will be opened.

But these schools have been fantastic in the midst of grief. Even before that they were fantastic in autism and the daily grind of middle school and elementary school. But in the midst of the greatest crisis my family had ever faced, they stepped up to support and assist in ways far beyond their job titles. How do you adequately say “thank you” for that?

Danny Janklow, the principal at North Middle School, responded to my thank you with a smile and simple, heartfelt words: “Thank you for sharing your children with us.” I cried. Chandra Spotted Eagle, vice principal, made sure someone took a picture of mom and Ryan together and then gave me a long hug. Michael Deming promised to get me all the contacts I would need to get Kati the best start at South Middle School this fall once we got settled in our new home. Secretaries told me I would be missed but that I would make a place for myself at the new schools just fine. Teachers gave hugs.

When I arrived home, still reeling from all this support and love, I discovered someone had anonymously left flowers in a pot on my doorstep. Ryan had wanted to plant more but with the move, I’d been putting him off. Now he has something to tend that perhaps I won’t kill.

Tonight I am blessed and feeling less shaky on the precipice of the unknown before me. Tonight I am grateful for the connections God has helped me make and a little bit more confident I can make more in the coming school year at new schools. I am a little more optimistic someone will love my house enough to buy it and all will go well with moving us into a fresh place for fresh starts.

Petrichor smells like a fresh beginning, a clean slate, I think. It was the perfect smell to end a day like today.

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