Well, we’ve reached it again. The end of another year. Today is when you say good-bye to third grade. You’ve had a week filled with fun things like a beach day with your partner class, and a PE party filled with water games (and the dentist, that was fun too, wasn’t it?!), but you’ve worked hard this year too and it’s important to look back and everything you’ve done in third grade. Papa and I are very proud of you.
You’re still nothing if not enthusiastic. You’re a hard worker and willing to take on any challenge. Your reading took off, in part because of the challenges your teacher presented your class and in part because of your own interest. While you and Papa still read Tintin together, you read all of the Harry Potter books on your own, handling the more mature moments within them better than your own mother could. And Harry Potter was just the beginning. You’ve been eating up books like they’re popcorn. You’ve developed your mother’s habit of reading before you go to sleep each night, and our rides to and from school are quicker and quieter with you reading in the backseat. You’re a great writer too. If you have writing homework you breeze through it. You like writing, I think. You like making emotional connections with your words, and you’re good at it. At nine, you already have a definite writing “style,” and that’s quite impressive. This year you won the Teacher Jane Book Award for your essay on The Long Winter, and not only did you write a great essay, but you stood up and read it in front of your whole school. Papa and I were bursting with pride that day! You like public speaking and acting too, I think, and your teachers have great plans for you on next year’s forensics team.
It’s not just reading and writing. Spelling has been a snap, history and science (Best Experimenter!) have captivated you, and even math has been exciting, as you’ve learned multiplication, division and fractions this year. Many, many accomplishments. Papa and I knew that third grade was where things really kicked into high gear academically, and you more than rose to the experience. You’ve loved your teacher this year, and she, it seems, has had a great appreciation of you as well. She loves your interest in history and your sensitive nature. I love it too. How my World War II movie-watching boy can be just as excited to read These Happy Golden Years with me. Renaissance Man.
This year you played lacrosse, your first time on a team. We made a deliberate choice to wait until third grade for you to participate in team sports, but you were ready. After a camp in the fall, we knew you liked lacrosse, and your time with the Nighthawks only cemented that. It wasn’t always easy. At the start you were shy and kids were mean, but you stuck with it. By the end of the season your hard work and steady personality paid off. Kids wanted to play with you, and kids stood up for you. Your goals were to get a sticker and score a goal in the season and you met both, several times over. At the Jamboree, you scored two goals, won two face-offs and had four assists. You had kids telling you that you should have been on the all-stars and that you were playing really well. Your coaches said you were the hardest worker on the team. Being on a team has been so good for you. You did better in school while you were playing lacrosse, and you gained a maturity at home as well.
This year has really cemented your relationships with your “at home” friends. You run with a pack of great kids in the neighborhood, and on the weekends we often say good-bye to you in the morning and don’t see you until nighttime! I love to see that you still enjoy a combination of imagination and pretend play along with hours and hours at the lacrosse rebounder.
More firsts this year, a ski trip for Papa’s birthday and a trip to Atlanta to meet your new cousin. You throw yourself headlong into everything we try, and your interest in travel and history led your teacher to encourage us to take you along on Papa’s next big trip to Hungary in the fall. I could tell by your reaction to this news that you love the idea of being a seasoned traveler. We can’t wait to go on this trip with you. Other firsts weren't as fun, like the flu and allergies so bad that you had headaches for a week.
You love dressing up for special occasions, and you look pretty sharp in your bowtie too! You adore your beloved pups, although we all think Thea is your favorite. You set the table for dinner each night, and we finally don't have to
remind you to clear the dishes when we're done. We do still have to
remind you to put your clothes in the hamper and put away your laundry,
but you're getting there.You still love popcorn and Gatorade each evening after school, and I still give you spelling tests while I stir the soup. After years of soup in your school lunches, you branched out to chili!
And next year, in fourth grade, you’ll get to use the microwave!
There's a lot to look forward to next year. We're talking just as much during your homework if not more. I'm enjoying our conversations most about your growing up. You're asking good questions, and you clearly have a thoughtful way of looking at the world.
I'm going to end this letter with something you wrote about yourself that your teacher shared with us at your conference this spring.