Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Beautiful Community Of School

Well, it's official.  Our oldest has finished Grade 10 and our youngest is day T-2, ending our 11 year participation at our local public school.  Off to high school in the fall.

I confess.

I've shed a couple of tears.

Just a few.  Quietly.  By myself.

Actually, it's easier to leave the school than it was to start attending the school.  I cried for a full week before Andrew started Kindergarten.  Gosh, that was hard.

Hope I don't do that when they leave home, nevermind, I'm sure I will.

Can I brag just a bit?  Both of our boys received the Character Award in Grade 8.  Speaks volumes to me about what kind of people they are day after day when interesting people like teachers and students are around.  I'm so proud.  Of all the achievements that a parent could aspire to see their kids reach, Character is purdy darn important.

I remember back when we first started attending Parent/Teacher interviews.  The conversations always centered around their level of reading and their ability to do math and other things according to the formulas created for Grade ("fill-in-the-blank") students. I would sit there, patiently listening.  When it was my turn to speak, my question was always, always "but is my boy a nice boy?  Does he get along with others?"  Seems my boys always were and always did and, even if no one else noticed their niceness, the teachers noticed and somehow knowing that my boys were decent human beings led me to believe that they'd succeed in their own way.

We leave elementary school having experienced the effects of community as we've raised our sons.  We only ever had our boys in one school.....which enabled familiarity within the school with so many.  Teachers called us by name, noticed when I got a hair cut, pulled me aside to comment on how much Andrew was growing, emailed pictures of Ben doing fun things in sports events.  Students greeted us with "HI MRS. DYNNA!"  Or (my personal favorite) "HI BEN'S MOM!!".  A few hugs were thrown in once in awhile for good measure, entirely due to our frequent assignment as band trip chaperones (the BEST memories).  And, perhaps my all time favorite was the "coolest mom ever" comment (not from my son!) when I arrived to drive the Boys Grade 7/8 Volleyball team to Kinistino armed with 2 batches of homemade cookies.  The SUV was LOADED with boys that day, telling the same jokes over and over and over all the way to Kinistino and back and it was the best kind of fun.

I think what I'll miss the most is the camaraderie with the parents.  Unique to this Grade 8 class, many of these students have been together since Kindergarten.  They've been close and supportive and have attended endless birthday parties together.  Some of the same parents that bawled our way through their Kindergarten graduation ceremony back in 2006 attended the Grade 8  Farewell last night.  We've sat by each other during sports games and band concerts.  We've met in the hall while waiting for our turn during parent/teacher interviews, sometimes grim-faced, sometimes relieved.  We applauded together as we watched Christmas concerts and Remembrance Day assemblies and Talent nights.  We texted each other for basketball tournament schedules when our forgetful children neglected to bring the right papers home. We noticed each others' kids' growth spurts and quietly watched the beauty and handsomeness deepen.  We dried each others' tears occasionally when our kids felt unloved or left out and then quietly had conversations at home, asking our own kids to be extra nice to others.

And, so, last night, when these gangly 13-14 year olds showed up looking like princes and princesses and with the presence of shirts and ties, dresses and heels, make up, hair gel and big smiles - we smiled too....through happy tears.  They grew up the moment they set foot inside that gym last night, dressed to the 9's - suddenly showing us all that they really. truly. are. young men and women destined for greatness.

WE. DID. IT.!!!  We managed to escort them from K-8!  And now, fly, baby, fly.

I confess.
When he came out in his suit.....
.....I cried.....

So proud. 

Aren't they beautiful!  One part mature, one part Junior High.  Half man, half boy.  More man than boy.  What?  Yes.

These two have been friends and neighbors since they were two years old.  They met through the fence as toddlers.  Friends through thick and thin, they've always been in the same homeroom for the past 9 years.  Exceptional people, both of them.