29 June 2010

Cry Baby

I don't cry.  It takes an awful lot to bring me tears or even close.  Over the years, I've been through a lot of ups and downs...  Being a Navy Wife, goodbyes, hellos, long deployments...  It's all part of the deal I signed up for, so I've had to make myself more immune to the emotional ups and downs.  The side effect is that I am less apt to get emotional at other events in our life.

On June 21st, my eldest son "graduated" from sixth grade.  I was proud of him, for sure, but I admit to being cynical about the day's event.  I mean, graduation?  Really?

Don't get me wrong.  My husband took the morning off from work, we took the camera and video camera, we were ready to document this mildly momentous event in our first son's life.

We lined up outside the cafeteria and filed in when the doors opened.  I positioned myself on an aisle seat so I could easily move out to shoot my photos and video.

The cooling system in the room was not working well,  everyone fanned themselves with the event programs. 

The student council president started the event with the Pledge of Allegiance.  As a Navy wife, I get goose bumps every time I hear it.

The principal opened the ceremony with some thoughtful remarks, telling the kids to be the best they can be for themselves and the middle school next year.  She said there could only be one best at any given thing but everyone can be his or her own best.  A nice thought, but hard to hear since the sound system was on the fritz.  

Between the heat and the poor sound system,  I have to admit that I kept checking the program to see how many things were left before we could vacate the premises.  

Finally, the kids came to the part in the morning when the they thanked the parents for all the support and love we've given them over the past seven years of school.  One of the students read a thank you and then all the kids came out to the parents and handed us a rose and a personal letter.  

Next, the kids took the stage to sing.  Seeing Zack up on stage, singing, "You'll Be In My Heart" did it to me.  I got choked up.  Seeing my nearly 12 year old, first son, moving from elementary school, on to middle school, suddenly became an emotionally charged event for me.  

I admit, I teared up a little bit, but for the most part, I beamed with pride.  It has not been an easy road for Zack.  He does wonderfully academically, but any given day is a struggle, socially, and to see him up there, with his classmates, knowing the possibilities that lie ahead, was a great feeling.  

I am glad they made a big deal about the commencement from 6th grade to middle school.  

Every event can be a big deal or less so, depending on how the adults in a child's life handle it.  It was a big deal to Zack and to all of his classmates.  It really is a moment of moving from "little kid" to tween.  

Next year, these kids are going to be held to different standards and will be exposed to many more adult experiences.  

The teachers and parents celebrated our kids' milestone.  I'm glad we did and look forward to all that is to come.

Next year, my youngest will start preschool.  Will I cry when he gets out of the car in the carpool line?  Now I'm not so sure that I won't...

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