Monday, June 3, 2013

Remembering Fifth and First Grade...

 The picture on the left is Sam's first day of school of fifth grade.
The picture on the right is his last day of school...elementary school.
I take the pictures beside the bricks with the outlet and doorbell showing, so we can see how tall they have grown.

On this day, I really had to hold it together for Sam. He is super bummed about school and especially his elementary years coming to a close. He had an amazing year, which I am infinitely grateful for. But, I know, at this time, if I show him my tears, it would put him over the edge. So, I will not front of him. Though, I got the chin quiver as he got out of the car for his last day and am tearing up as I write this. Just like I did when I took him to his first day of  preschool and watched from afar as he wiped tears from HIS eyes and tried to be so brave. I wanted to run in there, grab him and tell the teacher, "We'll try again next year." But WE did it. And he was OK. (so was I!)

So at this time, as I dropped him off for his last day of school, I have to be brave one. I know he's not grown up yet, but well on his way. I don't think he has any idea what he's getting into with middle school. I'm not sure I do either. Frankly, I think that's okay. Middle School is a whole new ballgame and hormones! I hope he's okay. I think he will be. But I worry. I am a worrier. I wonder where Sam gets it!
 Jack on his first and last days of school.

It's been an awesome year for Jack, too. The biggest thing he has learned is how to navigate and "handle" friends. He has made some great friends and he enjoys hanging out with his "old" friends, too. The thing with Jack, is that if you are mean to him or one of his friends, he is done with you. We support him in this. We've always told the boys, you don 't have to be their friend, but you have to be kind to them. He was invited to a couple of birthday parties and said, "I don't want to go." "Why?" I would ask. "Because they are mean." And he wouldn't change his mind. Even if his good friends were going to the party. And I am OK with that.

Jack did get bullied this year. It was hard. It sucked. I lost sleep.
I was mad. I was sad. I cried. 

When Jack was at his locker, his locker partner would push him out of his way and told him to wait until he was done. At times he would push Jack hard enough that he would fall to the floor. If he wasn't pushing jack, he would block Jack from getting into the locker. Jack sat beside him in class, was his math partner and reading partner. The boy wouldn't let Jack do a math game. He would tell Jack what he could and could not do.

Jack did not want to go to school, but wouldn't tell me why. It wasn't like him, he loved going to school.  I just assumed he was super tired and just. didn't. want. to . get. going.  He would also say that he didn't feel good. Looking back, why didn't I realize what was going on?  I like to think that I am in tune with my kids. I wasn't. Jack would tell me he didn't like his locker partner, but nothing else. 

One night, after a three day weekend, he was in tears about school and how he SOOOO didn't want to go and finally told me what was happening. My heart broke. I felt it break. Every emotion went through me. We talked a long time and I told him what he should and could do. Jason gave him pointers too (appropriate ones!)  I stayed up and emailed his teacher. She was AWESOME about it all, (PHEW!!) By the time Jack got to school that morning, he had a new locker partner, reading partner and a new seat. Jack was good to go, again. (PHEW) I check in with him frequently. He told me the boy had moved on to another victim. That makes me sad...for both boys involved.  

It was a good lesson for all us. A hard lesson.
One I really hoped that I wouldn't have to experience.
But I did.

There were other tough lessons this year. After Newton, I had to explain to the boys what had happened in their terms and why they had to practice lock downs at school. I had to explain (carefully) why people, who weren't hunters or officers,  wanted to keep and use guns. We had to talk about what to do if someone had a gun or if they are at someone's house and there is a gun.  During the election, Sam had lots of questions about the differences in Democrats and Republicans, racism, gay rights and why doesn't everyone just accept everyone. We had to talk about the Boston Bombings and Korea. We talked about the Oklahoma tornado and then on the last day of school, the boys were held late at school due to tornado warnings in our town. Those are conversations that I really wished I didn't have to have with my boys, but it's a sign of the times. Honestly,  I would rather they have proper information from me then the information they obtain and learn, (and they do "learn" a lot) on the playground.

There were also great things that happened this year. Sam got his first girlfriend! He was recognized for his achievements at school and in the community. He got a phone. He made it into classes that he wanted for next year. He ran his first real track meet. He made some really neat friends this year.
 But, my proudest was that he was recognized for his great character.

Jack got into a class this year that he worked so hard to get into. He was so proud of himself! He made some new friends. He learned how to play kick ball. He hit the baseball from the pitching machine! He drew an awesome royal portrait of himself! Another proud moment for his parents was when he, too, was recognized on the last day of school for his great character! 

I am finally really realizing that parenting is the most exciting, greatest and hardest thing I have ever done.
 I sure do wish there was a manual to all of this!

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