Shooting Stars and Tissues

When you work at an elementary school, you don’t really mark the passing of time by the changing of the seasons or by flipping the calendar page.  There are milestones to be passed in each year, some academic and some not.

At our school we have the usual events each month, a few spirit assemblies thrown in here and there, egg drop, spring break, standardized testing, Open House, and the traditional end of the year field trips to the bowling alley or park.

And then, when the last day of school is about a week away, we have the Shooting Star song.

I’m not even sure who wrote this song, but the graduating 5th graders sing it at our school-wide Awards Assembly each June.  Boys and girls sit stiffly in metal folding chairs, facing the entire school in their nice clothes and uncomfortable shoes that pinch their toes.  They have paid their dues, sitting through assemblies for 6 years on the hard linoleum floor with legs crossed.  Now they have earned the right to sit in a real chair, facing those they have reigned over as “The Big Kids” since last August.

They look so much older, wiser, maybe a bit more mature than last fall.  Girls primp and stumble in their heels, looking nothing like they did just a day before on the playground.  The boys are still mostly disheveled, but a bit more pulled together than usual.  Proud parents crowd the room, snapping pictures for the scrapbooks.  Awards are handed out.

And then they sing the song…..and I always get teary-eyed, even when the 5th grade kids singing it aren’t related to me.

Please won’t you catch
a Shooting Star for me
And take it with you on your way
Though it seems like we’ve just met, you’re the one I won’t forget
Hope some kind wind blows you back my way

And I was thinking maybe somewhere later down the road
After all our stories have been told
I’ll sit and think of you, the dear friend I once knew
(who)Shot through my life like a shooting star

You are so dear, you’re my bright and shining star
You brighten up each and every day
You are so near, but soon you’ll be so far
So why not hold my hand today?


Sometimes I know that a part of you will show
Deep in my heart and in my smile
There will always be a part of you deep inside my heart
And I’ll know just when to let it go


Why does this sappy song make me so teary?  Why doesn’t it do that to the kids?  I guess I hear so much more in the words than they do, remember so many more goodbyes I have experienced.  To hear these words sung a cappella by 75 young people is beautiful. 

My daughter, who was one of the 5th graders last year, thinks I’m nuts.  “Oh my gosh, Mom, it’s just a song!” she says, nicely refraining from telling me to get a grip.  She has already asked me why I cry if I don’t even have a kid singing.  That, my dear, you will have to figure out on your own someday.

Tomorrow morning is the assembly.  I am taking tissues.


  1. What a sweet, sweet song! I think the reason the kids don't cry is that they have NO IDEA what goodbye really means. Give them ten or twenty years, and I'm sure they'll be tearing up right along with you….