Today was the last day of school for my children. Summer break has begun.
As a child the end of the school year was something that I anxiously awaited. I loved everything about summer and couldn’t wait for it to begin. It was always a time of magic and mystery filled with moments that stay with me to this very day.
It is a different sort of experience for a parent. If you ignore the moans and groans some of us give about the work involved in trying to keep the kids entertained you end up in a place where the more sentimental of us wonder if time must always move so quickly. For the end of summer means that our children are one step closer to being big people and we are one step closer to being in unfamiliar territory.
Today was more than a little surreal. The dark haired beauty finished kindergarten and took a giant step towards her future. I suppose that sounds a little melodramatic, but it is what I saw. When I walked into her classroom I thought about the little girl that had walked in last August.
That girl didn’t read. She knew all the letters in the alphabet and recognized a word or two, but she didn’t read. And now, she is a monster that devours books, consumers them whole. She reads beautifully and knows so many different things that I can’t help but be amazed.
And her brother, the boy former third grader who started preschool last week blew me away.Â He walked up to me and handed over an envelope. He had lost a tooth, but what caught my attention was his comment. He said that he was angry because the school year had ended too quickly. He said that it wasn’t fair because he hadn’t learned enough.
I told him that it wasn’t true and he barked at me that it was. I got down on a knee and listened while he told me that he had lost everything he had learned. Kindergarten, first and second grades were gone and he was certain that within a short time 3rd grade would be as well.
And then seventy five pounds of boy slammed into me. He is in that funny place where he really wants to be affectionate but is cautious about much he is willing to show in public. So I wrapped my arms around him and gently shook him. For a moment we pretended to wrestle. It is a charade I am willing to conduct for him. He needs the hug and I want him to get it without him feeling like he has compromised his cool factor or whatever it is that he doesn’t want to lose in front of the other kids.
I told him that he was wrong about losing knowledge. I told him that education was just like building a tower with blocks. I reminded him that we couldn’t build a pyramid without a foundation and explained that every grade before was part of that foundation.
And then I promised to help him see his friends over the summer. It was enough to make him relax and I even saw the hint of a smile appear on his lips. It was a special moment we shared and something that I am grateful for.
Because what this did was reaffirm everything that I believe about this school. It confirmed that he has been part of something special, meaningful and worthwhile. How many kids complain about not having enough time to learn. How many wish that the school year would be extended just a little while longer.
Well, mine did and does. And that means the world to me.