I just sent my two boys off to their last day of school. Noah was absolutely right last night when he said this was the fastest year ever. It really did seem to fly. Each year seems to get easier in many ways, even though new challenges arose as well. I love to sit back at the end of each school year and reflect on how far the boys have come.
The kid who is a full year younger than most of his class (and two years younger than a few) definitely held his own this year. Going into this year, he and I both believed that it would be better for him to repeat first grade rather than advancing to second, in order for his social skills to catch up with his academic. In truth, I will always think it may have been better to hold him back. But despite our reservations, Aaron proceeded to second grade on his teacher's recommendation and really did rise to expectations. He ended the year as the second highest reader in the class, even while being the youngest by 1-2 years. Both of my conferences this year were "lectures" from his teacher telling me to stop worrying about him. His handwriting is still way behind, but we will spend a lot of time working on that this summer. This was his first year receiving speech and language services and I was amazed at how much he improved. He no longer stutters (or "bumps" as they call his particular form of stuttering). We are going to continue services into the start of third grade however just to make sure there is no back slide. He grew a full two inches his year, which is crazy. He also had his first major disappointment in a failed drama audition but handled it impressively well and is looking forward to trying again. The biggest growth we've seen in him this year is in his confidence. He is becoming much more willing to try new things and handles his frustration so much better than in the past. Unlike last year at this time, I have very little concern about him advancing to the next grade level. His charming smile and joyful enthusiasm for life continue for all to see.
4th grade definitely brought new challenges for Noah but also a talent emerged in him to a higher level. Noah struggled this year socially, mainly because the girls in his class who have always been friends with him are starting to enter puberty and creating much confusion for this sensitive kid. But luckily some new boys moved into the school and he was able to branch out and make some new friends as well. We spent most of the year working through the social difficulties and I think he has handled it pretty well. Noah developed his comic writing ability this year, with many thanks to a teacher who not only encouraged his creativity, but even LET HIM DOODLE during instruction time since he had straight A's anyway and she knew he was listening and taking it all in while she was teaching. Pretty impressive for a first year teacher. I am wondering if this will become a problem next year but we'll deal with that in three months. Noah also played basketball this year. This was huge because although we have tried pretty much every organized sport, none of then have ended in a positive note and it is exciting for him to have had a good experience and is even looking forward to next season as well. Noah continues to struggle with self esteem but we will continue to help him with this and I hope that someday he will come to believe in the amazing person that he is.
I was disappointed that we didn't do scouts this year. Noah was definitely not into it and even though Aaron wanted to continue, he never mentioned it again after we stopped.
As we head into the summer both boys are pretty excited about next year. Their classrooms will be right next to each other next year and in a separate wing of the school from everyone else. Both of their teachers for next year are awesome which makes going into the summer a little less worrisome.
THE SUMMER AHEAD
I have high hopes for this summer. I did have to drop my hours at work, which will significantly chop our income, but this is nothing different than any other summer, which is difficult every year. They will be spending a day and a half at work with me each week at gymboree, but the other three and a half days will be ours. A few VBS programs, a couple little mini-camps, a rented cabin for our annual camping trip in July, a birthday party for a boy entering double digits, and hopefully a couple of day trips as well. I am hoping to just be with the boys and enjoy them this year. We are on borrowed time until the boys no longer want to do ANYTHING with boring old mom. As a matter of fact, Noah is already planning his play dates with some of the new friends he made this year. And with his gal pal attending our church now, that will definitely make him happy this year as well. For Aaron, all I really have to do is keep our homemade dunk tank operational and he will be happy as a lark all summer long. I imagine we will continue our Sunday weekly trips to the state park beaches as weather permits as well.
Okay, so after writing all of this, I have a confession. I am always happy AND sad on the last day of school. I am always so proud of how far each of the boys have grown, but my eyes tear up every single year at the last day awards assembly. I have no idea why I get so emotional every year, but I do. The kids all get their own individualized award from the teachers and I can usually accurately predict the awards they will receive. Aaron will probably receive Best Reader and Noah will probably receive some sort of Creativity award.
And then we will come home.
Here's to summer!