Well, it happened. The boy graduated from elementary school. What a journey it’s been.
I told a friend on the phone … “I made it through without crying.”
His response was the equivalent of … “It’s not really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of life. There are bigger things ahead that really deserve to be celebrated and that will probably make you get emotional.”
“No“, I said, “You don’t understand. For some peoples kids getting through elementary school is easy. For mine it was not. I am just so proud of how he has performed over the last 2 years. The first 3 were rough.”
I remember the days when every single report card came home with a note saying we needed to have a parent teacher meeting. Shoot, in some cases, I had to meet with the Vice Principal. I remember when having his own personal chaperone on a field trip was mandatory. There were times when I couldn’t make it and our Nanas stepped in. I remember in second grade when they threatened to hold him back and have him repeat due to near failing grades. I remember, with much appreciation, all the things his teachers did to help him even though there was no legal reason for them to do so. Bringing in their own personal i-pads to school to use as an incentive for good behaviour. Allowing him to play with Legos in a quiet office when his body was too agitated to sit through reading time. Buying books with their own money that they thought he’d like to encourage reading. I haven’t forgotten the concern over his fine motor skills. (His writing was all but illegible). I remember the phone calls I received telling me about the latest injury he received because he fell over in his chair. I can recall his teachers treading lightly as they attempted to suggest we take him for an evaluation with a specialist. They didn’t want to offend. But they saw him struggling. I remember him starting to hate school and being scared to begin a new year in a new grade with a new teacher. I remember his school choosing to put him with a specific teacher in 3rd grade because they thought she would have the skills to reach him and help him. They were right. She was a great fit for him and he loved her and learned to love learning. School, was still not easy, but it stopped being such a scary place.
Fourth grade and fifth grade were vastly different. There were no more “needs improvement” check marks on the behaviour section of his report. There was marked improvement in his organization skills. He began getting A’s and B’s. He joined, and enjoyed being a part of, multiple after school activities.
So you see, while to many an elementary school graduation may not be a big deal, for us it is worth celebrating. First we struggled and then we conquered.
It was a team effort and his support team is stronger than ever. I will say the one part of the ceremony that almost got to me was at the very beginning when the Vice Principal asked the graduates to turn around and look at the crowd behind them.
“That’s your support system. Those are the people who helped you and will continue to help you. Lean on them. They love you.”
And there we were, sitting proudly in the auditorium. Myself, Jay, Shaunie and CC. All together for our boy. When it was his turn to collect his certificate, Jay stood up and shouted “Ace is next” and then he clapped bigger than anyone else. Shaunie and CC were on photo duty. I sat up straight, soaking in the moment and beamed.
It happened. The boy graduated from elementary school. What a journey it’s been.
When you’re feeling lost in the night,
When you feel your world just ain’t right
Call on me, I will be waiting
Count on me, I will be there
Anytime the times get too tough,
Anytime your best ain’t enough
I’ll be the one to make it better,
I’ll be there to protect you,
See you through,
I’ll be there and there is nothing
I won’t do.
I will cross the ocean for you
I will go and bring you the moon
I will be your hero your strength
Anything you need
I will be the sun in your sky
I will light your way for all time
For you I will.
I will shield your heart from the rain
I will let no harm come your way
Oh these arms will be your shelter
No these arms won’t let you down,
If there is a mountain to move
I will move that mountain for you
I’m here for you, I’m here forever
I will be your fortress, tall and strong
I’ll keep you safe,
I’ll stand beside you, right or wrong
For you I will lay my life on the line
For you I will fight
For you I will die
With every breath, with all my soul
I’ll give my world
I’ll give it all
Put your faith in me
And I’ll do anything
(For You I Will – Monica)