last day {still + life}

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Dear Callum, 

Well, you did it. Another amazing year in the books. Can you believe we're at the end of 7th grade already. It went so fast. As you know, I write a letter each at the end of each school year so we can look back a bit at what a great year it's been. You can find some of your other letters here (6th grade), here (5th grade), and here (4th grade).

But let's talk about this year. Middle School. Wow, huh? I still can't quite believe it, but so far, middle school has been so good for you. Wouldn't you say? I think we were all a little nervous when the year started to see how you would handle the changes, but I think you found this particular space to be a pretty okay space to be.  

Academically, things haven't shifted much. It's a lot of work, and you work hard. But  your interests haven't really changed. Captivating books in English, especially Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird.  Captivating places in social studies, where projects on Namibia and Glasgow (and James Watt) and movies like Hotel Rwanda helped you circle the globe. Your interests clearly still shift towards the humanities. Latin? Hello. How fun was that? It helps to have a great teacher and stories about devastating volcanoes, but still. In general, you pretty much like to read and write. You like science too. But that was a bit tricky this year, wasn't it?

And math; let's talk about math. Look, you will straight up tell people that you struggle with math. There's no shame in that. But you know what? You'll also tell people that you like it. And you worked your butt off at it this year. You had a teacher who inspired you and supported you, and you wanted to work hard and please him. Papa and I pretty much can't ask for anything more.

We're proud of you.  

You handled all the navigation required of middle school from changing classes to managing your bookstore account (Are you still getting Slim Jims or did you get tired of them?). You maneuver pit ball and tutor bell and break with considerable ease, even though we might wish that more time were spent working during tutor bell and break than at pit ball, but I get it. I really do. School is about more than studying. We know that.

You may have earned a demerit or two this year (those teachers with their group demerits!), but you earned some merits as well, and that's quite an achievement. Papa and I are almost prouder of that than of any high grade you achieve. And even though you had some moments of consternation, you always handled yourself with honor and grace. Proud of that too, kid.

You stretched your boundaries this year. Trying cross country was good for you even if you didn't love it. It feels good to be part of a team. But really, all year was waiting for baseball, wasn't it? can you remember how worried you were that you might not make the team? Those were some tense weeks. And what a season you had with such a great group of boys. You made some new friends and won a ton of games and learned a lot. I know you didn't get the playing time you wanted, but I think you learned some patience and grace and how to work hard at something you love. Being on a team and playing for your school was a dream-come-true for you, I know.

Outside of school, we had some fun too. Phillies game for your birthday. Nantucket for Thanksgiving. The ski trip that wasn't and then the ski trip that was. And how about these milestones? A phone! You got taller than me AND you got your braces off! Not a shabby set of things to cross of your list in 7th grade, I think. You're back to eating popcorn for your after school snack and still with the gatorade too. You'll eat anything we have, but if we could go to The Dirty Buffalo for wings every night, well, that would be okay with you too.

As I read back on some of our past end-of-year posts, I found them to be a lot more sentimental than this one, and that struck me as kind of funny. I still feel all of those things, but you're older now. Really becoming my man-child. That thrills me with pride, but it brings an awareness too. Some of the things I'm feeling, are just for you, and I won't share them here.

Now it's summer, and we have an exciting line up ahead, don't we? I can't wait for our trip and all the other lazy (and busy) fun we have in store. You've earned a vacation, my friend. Let's make it a stellar one.