Isabelle, my fifth-grader, is about to graduate from elementary school—which is impossible because it was only a few months ago (in real time—not this awful, fake, speedy time which steals our babies from us) that she graduated from kindergarten. I can see her now, colorful reading train trailing over her sweet plaid dress, as she walked proudly to the front of the outside chapel-gathering to sing her song. I remember posting on my Facebook page that I cried, not because she was graduating from Kindergarten, but because I knew how quickly the rest of the elementary school years would fly. And I was right (which happens more than you’d think—just ask the husband).
The difficulty with accepting that she’s going to MIDDLE SCHOOL in August is that in my mind Isabelle is exactly the same as she was on that last day of Kindergarten—exactly. She may suddenly be impossibly tall, her feet may be one size smaller than my own, and she may know all kinds of things about math and science (that I either never knew to start with or lost during childbirth), but I still look at her and see a five-year old. This may be an occupational hazard of parenting; maybe she will always be five, even when she’s grown, and married, and long gone. Maybe other parents look at their babies and see the toddler, or the infant, or the ten-year-old, but for me five is the magic age—the age where I hit a mental freeze.
So, before I let my five-year-old go to middle school, I want to say something about the elementary years.
I have loved, truly adored, being the mama of a primary schooler. The early morning cheerio-filled rides to school together, hand-in-hand walks up the hill, goodbye-for-now hugs, and kisses blown during Christmas shows are indelibly printed on my heart. Even those hours I spent sticking cotton balls on a black shirt (she was a sheep), and the time I hosted an at-home birthday party where everyone threw up (before they’d eaten) have taken on a rosy, nostalgic glow. These were GOOD days, people. I suspected it while they were happening. I savored them. Okay, so in the interests of total honesty, I did not savor the glue gun burns or the vomit, but I think I recognized that they were a rite of passage.
When the husband and I tell people where Isabelle goes to school, we tend to sigh a bit over the word, Westminster. It means so much to us. Isabelle’s elementary school —that small brick building surrounded by trees on the edge of a creek—is a place packed full of love, sweetness, and God-breathed goodness. It is one of the reasons elementary school has been so great.
But I think that the main reason is her teachers.