Hello my lovely. Happy
of School. And oh, what a bittersweet day this will be, won't it my
asked at dinner the other night for something positive to happen, and
let's do that. Let's not think about the goodbyes and the loss, but
of the wonderful things that have happened along the way. When you
at school, you were such my baby, and as always with you, starting
It was hard for me to send you to school actually and hard to find the perfect place. School was not a place of fun and comfort for me, and I didn't want that to be true for you too. But, as I often tell people, when we stood on the playground in front of this magical Cottage, I started to cry because here, I knew I could send you. I do admissions tours sometimes and I always say what was said to us that day. "We want kids to learn that there is this magical place of fun and learning outside their homes and we give that place the name 'school'."
We had a goodbye ritual each day, you and I as we walked down the path to the Cottage. Take a few steps, kiss, take a few steps, kiss. Once inside you went straight to the window and waved as I backed away. The first day that you dashed to play without looking back was a bittersweet victory. I was so proud of you.
I was proud of you then, and I'm proud of you now, big-time almost fifth grader. You breeze into your classroom without a backward glance now. As it should be.
You started this year with a bang. In school a few days and woosh! Off to Hungary! We're so grateful that we can offer you the opportunity to travel and grateful that your teachers encouraged this trip. It was a great experience and a great place to turn ten years old. When you came home, you proudly told your classmates about your trip. You still love to get up in front of a crowd.
We traveled a lot this year. To Charlottesville to see Monticello, up to Pennsylvania to see friends, to Atlanta to see your grandparents. South Carolina for New Years, and almost South Carolina again this spring (bummer!). You're still one of the best, most enthusiastic travelers I know.
You still love dressing up and will take any opportunity to do so. You always look so sharp for your class pictures. A friend gave you a box of ties as a gift, and you were overwhelmed with delight. Your new school has a dress code, and I actually think you're excited about that! Still, you don't like getting haircuts and you don't like taking showers (?), but I'm working on that!
School this year had as many bumps as delights. Hard stuff with friends that we hadn't experienced before. Hard work that took a lot of effort. You worked hard, (even though you parents still think you could work a little harder...a-hem) although I think things (both with your friends and your studies) were more challenging than ever before. It didn't help that we threw this whole "new-school" curve ball at you. Sometimes things aren't fair.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. You still do your homework at the kitchen island (more difficult when our kitchen was under construction), and those are still my favorite times of day. You still read like a mad-man, although we sometimes have to encourage you to try something new, and this is still your way to fall asleep at night. In math, you worked like a demon to memorize your math facts (aack, multiplication tables), and you were one of the first three students in your class to accomplish this goal. And you still love science and history and World War II movies. Mama has to leave the house next week so you and Papa can catch up on all the movies you taped over Memorial Day Weekend!
You still have popcorn and gatorade after school almost every day, and you usually need to grab a snack out of my office before we head home. You've been eating soup for lunch still, and fried chicken this year now too. We stop packing your lunch next year, and you're a little sad about that, I think. You still love seltzer and tonic with lime, but this year saw soda creeping in to your beverage options. Sprite we're okay with (in small doses), and I;m always very proud of you when you call from a friend's house to ask if you can have a coke.
You love to learn and you love to try new things. This year you took French lessons, willingly giving up your Saturday mornings to dabble in a language that you've decided that you want to learn. You and I did some cooking together this year, and we had so much fun that I hope we do more. When Alfie came, you guys painted a picture together. You threw yourself into that project, like you do most projects. You love nothing more than involved, complicated plans...to be working on SOMETHING! You're always planning something like building a cabin the size of our living room or a fort in a tree. Go big or go home, that's my boy.
When you and your buds on the block planned a lemonade stand and ping pong tournament, you made $30! But more important to you, I think, was the fun you had. Although you like money too.
You're happiest when you're moving your body. Climbing, running, on the rope swing, playing capture the flag or dodgeball. You got your first Nerf gun, and now you have an arsenal. (Your dad likes them too!) Nothing shows the holiday spirit like the Nerf gun battle that took place on this block on Christmas morning.
It was a weather-y year too. A nor'easter that shut down school, not to mention our neighborhood, for more than two days. And, oh, the best snowfall ever. You could have stayed outside all day during that snowstorm. You were at a perfect age for Mother Nature to dump eight inches of snow on us. We both hope it happens again next year!
You had some disappointments this year too. You didn't win the Teacher Jane book award, but when you told me, after having had a pretty bad day, that the only good thing to happen was to hear that a classmate of yours had won...well, Mama and Papa were prouder of you then than if your essay had been chosen. You played lacrosse again this year and had a lot of fun, but you guys were more like the Bad News Bears than reining league champions this season. That's okay. Learning how to lose gracefully is good for you and something you needed to do. You competed in the hardest category in forensics and didn't win, but your essay was wonderful and we thought you did a great job. You're a kid with a lot of sparkle, and I think the hardest lesson you learned this year was that simply being Callum isn't always enough. It's always enough for me though.
Speaking of "sparkle," you absolutely SHONE in the school play this year. You love to be on the stage, and you have a great ability to connect with your audience. You look so at home up there, and you got so many laugh-out-loud moments that it's hard to remember that it's a big deal for kids to get up and perform on stage. Very nicely done.
Our vibe as a family has been pretty good this year. We have a lot of fun together. You still love to snuggle and you still seem to need us in a lot of ways (like a death-grip on Papa's wrist when you're struggling with math homework). I see shades of growing up, of course I do, and that's okay. You call us "Mom" and "Dad" when you're with your friends. I can understand it, even when it makes me sad.
I am so enjoying the person you are becoming, that it makes everything so worthwhile. I love talking with you and hearing the questions you ask. You want to know and understand things, and you love having knowledge about anything in the arsenal of your mind.
Yesterday was your DARE graduation at school. In another post I will write about how timely and important this experience has been for both you and your Mama and Papa as well. Your essay was chosen to represent the 4th grade, and when you read it to everyone, I had to fight back tears. I told you on the way home that of all the writing assignments you've had this year, I was happiest that you won this one. As we all look to your very near future of navigating the teenage and young adult world of violence and drugs and bad choices pressing in on all sides, the intensity I so love about you definitely gives me pause. But the confidence you have in yourself definitely gives me hope.
It's been a year for the record books, my sweet. My Bug, my Moo, my own sweet baby. A year of challenges and crazy fun. You navigated it well, my lovely. You've handled everything we've thrown at you. And if you're sad today, this last day of school, that's okay. It's a last day like no other last days, a final goodbye that is as bitter for what we lose as it is sweet for what we all have to look forward to. We're both jumping out of the nest, aren't we, chicklet?
I love you to the moon and back again my man-child. Love you, I do.