Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Once an All Star, Always an All Star
Jessie's 5th Grade Graduation Pt. 1

Our family took one of those huge steps into our future today. It was not one of those shuffling of the feet fearful baby step situations nor was it an Evel Knieval type of attempt to jump into the next phase of our lives. It was one of those moments that sneak up on you and then...there you are!

I equate it to a leisurely hike one might take to a summit. After reaching a certain altitude and needing a breather you find a spot to enjoy the view. You gaze upon the valley below. You see from a distance where you have come from and some of the places where you have stopped to rest or have visited because they are interesting. You realize how inspiring those places were and how you wished you'd spent more time there but the summit is still ahead and the challenges will become more difficult. You take a few deep breaths and restart the journey.

Jessie "graduated" from elementary school this morning. Honestly I did not anticipate the emotional impact this would make upon me. It hit me in a strange way this morning as I walked toward the cafeteria to watch the ceremony. I heard someone call my name and turned to see Dianne Chandler, a PTA volunteer and one of the other "Side Door Mamas" of which I am a proud bona fide member of (I promise to get to that in a moment).

Dianne hugged me and said picking up her child just wouldn't be the same next year. It was at that very moment that it certainly wouldn't be for all of us Side Door Mamas. It was also the thought rushed through my mind that I will never walk Jessie home from school again. Ever. Unless there's some freak snowstorm that requires snowshoes in the South or I get invited to live with Jessie in her college dorm, I'll never get to hold her hand while toting her book bag listening to her description of the her school day ever again. Bad day for Dad. Good day for Jessie.

I don't remember the day last week when Jessie and I made that final stroll home from school. I'm certain that it was a beautiful afternoon complete with sunshine and heat. I'm also certain that we talked about something incredibly important to her that happened that day. 5th grade gossip! Stuff I tried to keep from making fun of and treat like it's Britney out of re-hab. Oh how I wish I had some of that now! That stuff was far more interesting and amusing than Britney, Lindsay Lohan, and the Ashley twins put together. I had no freaking idea how I'd miss it!

Joan waved me over to some seats she'd reserved when I got to the cafeteria. After I finally got to her I was amazed at how many parents I knew that had attended school with me or my brothers that had kids moving on to middle school! They all stopped me to say I knew you or one of your brothers in high school. Since I'm the eldest brother...well...I'm old! That sucks! I'm 45 and yet I now have some classmates who are grandparents!

More tomorrow....BTW Joan's birthday was yesterday. She's now a year older than me until September. Give her some love! You lurkers, here's your chance to show Ben's mama some good words!

Jessie and Joan leave Pelham Road Elementary School for the last time. The school nickname is All Stars. Every one of the kids is very much an All Star.


Gretchen said...

Kisses and hugs Joan--hope you whooped it up yesterday!!

Jessie--Congrats on your graduation to 6th grade. Maddy starts 5th grade but that is the start of middle school here. Time goes fast!

Enjoy it all!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Joan-

To the woman that proves behind every artist there needs to be someone who can keep it all together! I wish we could all find as someone as wonderful as you are. I hope Bennie remembers the Bloody Mary recipe and has one waiting for you!

kimmyk said...

yep big changes.

will she going to a school that is not in walking distance for you? because you can still walk a 6th grader home ya know.

happy birthday joan!!!

and you're not old.