One Or Two Pictures From The Last Day Of Elementary School

I survived it.

The boy’s very last day of elementary school has come and gone.  My heart is still beating inside of my chest, and I’m still breathing.  I feel like throwing my arms high in the air like the refs do at a football game to signal a touchdown and shouting, “Nailed it!”

Throughout the all-school assembly, and the enormous slideshow for everyone, and the all-school picnic, I felt dry-eyed.  I didn’t feel a cry coming on at all, and I decided that maybe I HAVE A HEART OF STEEL AND/OR STONE AFTER ALL, because LOOK, MA!  No tears!  I was feeling rather smug and proud of myself, too, for not melting down.  School was out at 1:15 on Friday, and at 1:05, I still hadn’t shed a single tear.

And then…

Then Mrs. M, the boy’s darling teacher, gave me an enormous hug and she burst into sobs and said, “Your little man just finished elementary school!”  And low!  There was Kellen’s mama, Sarah, standing right beside us, crying and crying, and the floodgates opened up on me.  I had myself an Ugly Cry, right smack there in the 5th grade classroom, until two girls from the boy’s class patted my back and asked if I was okay.

Okay?

No.  My boy has grown halfway up.  How could I have been okay?  I felt like I needed to excuse myself to the girls’ bathroom, lock the door to a stall, and not come out for three weeks, so that I could have some privacy and get all the emotions plum out, and I just wanted the janitor to slip a box of wine beneath the stall’s door.

But yes, the boy made it.

He’s officially a person of SIXTH GRADE STATUS now.

And really?  I guess that he had an okay year, as far as his grades went.  Hubs and I reprimanded him about that lone LOW GRADE… Locked him in his bedroom for nine weeks and just fed him bread and water until he brought it back up.

I can’t say enough good things about his teacher, Mrs. M, this year.  She’s become a good friend to us.  She was his mother away from home.  She is simply amazing, and we BIG-PUFFY-RED-HEART adore her.  Being in her classroom was THE! VERY! BEST! thing that could have happened to us this year at the school.  We couldn’t have envisioned the 5th grade anywhere else.

We have loved this elementary school in a huge way, from Day One.

Look!  There’s the boy on his last day of kindergarten, with Mrs. F, who was just about to have a new baby.  That baby is turning five this summer.

As a side note, I would like y’all to know that the LAST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN pictures are the VERY-ONLY pictures that I have from kindergarten, because Hubs someone didn’t back up our photos for a year, and our hard drive crashed.  To say that I cried is an understatement, because I HAVE NO SNAPSHOTS OF MY SON WITHOUT HIS FRONT TEETH ANY LONGER, and the moral of this story is BACK IT UP!  BACK IT UP!  BACK IT STINKING UP!!!  Thankfully, when our computer died its violent death, I had all of the pictures from the kids’ last day of kindergarten still on my memory card in my camera.

Whew.

Here are some of his buddies from that last day in 2007.

There’s the boy and Kellen and Ellie…

And Ciara and Gracie…

And Ashly-without-an-E-in-her-name, Kellen and the boy…

They were all adorable, weren’t they?

They’re all STILL adorable; they’ve just managed to break their mothers’ hearts and grow up.

Ciara’s a little bit taller, and she’s lost those cute baby teeth…

Kellen’s legs are a wee bit longer than they were in May of ’07…

Gracie has braces…

And Ellie is still darling and shorter than the boy, which makes him happy, because there aren’t a lot of 5th graders who actually ARE shorter than he is.

And Enzo?  Well, Enzo lived in Texas when he was in kindergarten, and then his family came to their senses, left the heat and the Longhorns behind, and they moved to Small Town, USA.  We’re powerfully glad they did.

I have enough pictures to fill an album tonight, so I’m just going to keep the words simple, brief, and rather boring.

Y’all are welcome for that.

Friday started with an all-school assembly, and the kids did some dancing.  A real photographer would have known which settings to use on her camera, so that it didn’t turn out blurred like this one did:

Eli was more than ready for summer vacation to JUST START ALREADY!

Carter wore his best pair of nerd glasses in honor of the last day of school.

Quinn, the boy and Enzo smooshed together for a Kodak moment.  I’m sure at their college graduation, their mamas and I will look at this picture and say, “Oh my word!  Look how tiny they were as 5th graders!”

The boy, Kellen and Quinn…

The boy and Kellen, who have been fantastic friends since they met in the swimming pool at the age of 3…

The boy and Carter…

The boy and Enzo, who are two peas from the same pod…

Mikayla and Nichole were happy to wave good-bye to days of getting up early for school, as they looked forward to three months of freedom…

Our little friend, Tavy, was excited about putting the 2nd grade behind her, too.  Thankfully, her mama, Miss Mika, has a few years to go before she sits in a bathroom stall and has an Ugly Cry, because Tavy is headed for the junior high school.

Enzo, looking handsome, as always, even with some dirt on his good golf shirt…

Everyone had a picnic outside, and Hubs, Thing 2 and I brought Jimmy John’s sandwiches to the boy, because we thought it would be a good LAST SUPPER to have before we put the elementary school days behind us.

The kids were all running around, carefree and happy, happy, HAPPY…

Enzo photo-bombed a sweet picture of the girls’ pyramid, because that’s what boys do…

Thing 2 had PLENTY of attention.  I think every single 5th grade girl in the school held him.

(He should have worn his CHICKS DIG ME T-shirt!)

After the picnic, the kids went back inside to wrap things up… forever… and to say good-bye.

I don’t even have enough words to explain how much I love all of these kids!  The boy has made some POWERFULLY WONDERFUL friends over the years, who have run in and out of our house since kindergarten, and I adore them all.

Every.  Single.  One.  Of them.

When school dismissed at 1:15, I blew my nose, dried my eyes, and got ready to head to the big after-school party that Quinn’s mama was throwing.

Kellen’s mom brought her miniature school bus, which she uses for her science camps in the summertime.  We decided that picking the kids up in a stretch limo and letting them hang out of the sunroof wasn’t in the budget, so we threw them all on Sarah’s little bus, and she hauled them all straight to the big party.

Of course the boy brought home a backpack that weighed 180 pounds, as it was full of everything he has done all year.  125 pounds of that backpack was dedicated to SHEER GARBAGE.  The rest of the weight consisted of classroom items that his teacher needed to throw away, but which the kids all begged to take home.

Thank you, Mrs. M.  I don’t know how we have lived this long without a four-foot-tall flip chart to practice our cursive letters on.

The after-school party was one of the best ones ever.  We had apples and strawberries that were the size of apples.  We had grapes, in greens and reds and purples.  We had bread and hummus dips and fancy cheeses.  We had homemade nachos, and homemade salsas.

And we had Lime-a-Ritas, which are like PRECIOUS SUMMERTIME in a cold bottle.  They have forever changed my drinking options for our deck, because of YUM, YUM, OH MY WORD, YUM!

The kids lounged around…

And they caught chickens…

They jumped on the trampoline and played every game known to mankind that can be played on the trampoline…

They played a rough game of 500 that only resulted in one smashed nose…

They played tag with rubber playground balls, which eventually turned into a game of GET THE ICE CUBES OUT OF THE COOLER AND THROW THEM AT ONE ANOTHER, because kids are very good at improvising new games on the fly…

They played wild games of tetherball…

And they visited the snack station… OFTEN!

They hauled the hoses out and got a decent water fight started up…

Yeah, we had a FEW KIDS at this party…

We also had an unruly chicken, who apparently didn’t want her picture taken, as she flapped her wings and made a grand escape during the group photo session…

And then, what did I say about kids IMPROVISING NEW GAMES ON THE FLY?

Yes.

They’re quite good at that, especially THIS batch.

Someone found a baseball bat, but no baseballs seemed to be around.  Someone else said, “Well, I have a can of soda.”

BINGO!

Every kid grabbed pops out of the cooler and laughed until they cried as they pitched them and batted them and watched them explode!  As grownups, we probably should have said, “Um, yeah.  There are thirsty children in Africa who would love to have a cold Sprite,” but then we decided that HITTING THE CANS OF SODA was actually better than our kids DRINKING THEM.

Sugary pop is a wicked thing, people.

So we let them have at it.  Soda Baseball kept them busy and laughing hysterically for quite some time, and they were all VERY PROUD to pose with their shattered cans for the camera.

They practiced for college, and tried to gulp soda that was spraying all over the place out of the broken cans…

The big boys all recruited little Bae-John to run back and forth to the cooler for more cans of Sprite and Coke, as well as plastic bottles of water.  Bae gave a whole new meaning to the term WATER BOY.

After everyone was sufficiently fed… sufficiently sticky from sprayed soda… sufficiently wet from the water fight… sufficiently exhausted after running, running and RUNNING and jumping on the trampoline… sufficiently sunburned, because no one thought about sunscreen for the entire six hours we were there… and sufficiently happy, we headed for home.

Of course, Thing 2 was BEYOND EXHAUSTED.  It’s hard to be twelve weeks old and want to play with the big boys… and to get passed around to no fewer than 35 different people who held him throughout the long day… and who loved on him throughout the day.

Thing 2 was asleep at 7:00 on Friday night, and he only got up one time for a bottle all night.

And then he spent over half of his Saturday looking exactly like this:

Thing 2 may need a LAST DAY OF SCHOOL PARTY more often, so that we wear him out enough to SLEEP!

Welcome to Summer Vacation, people.  We are ready for it.

And?

Did I mention?

My big boy is officially done with elementary school.

Dear Boy,

Your mom and dad sure do love you, and we are sure proud of the young man you are becoming.

Love,

Mama

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