June 3rd is the last day of school here in Adams County. I am excited and anxious at the same time. It hit me hard this week when I attended my twelve year old's sixth grade graduation. Yes, sixth grade. Looking back, I don't recall having any special ceremonies or events to mark the passage from sixth grade to seventh when I was growing up. There was an end of year picnic I think and that was about it.
We rushed into the school auditorium for the graduation. I was tired and had a pounding headache. We found some seats close to the stage and I settled into my chair. There was a slideshow playing for the audience-(we were asked to bring the students that were in band and chorus at 6:15 p.m.; the actual ceremony did not start until 7:00 so we had 45 minutes of waiting. I looked around the room. Most of these parents I had met seven years before on the first day of kindergarten. This evening we were all closing another chapter and moving forward into middle school.
I was not prepared for the emotions that suddenly swept over me. I caught an image of my daughter, smiling back at me, from the screen of the slideshow. Full of innocence, her whole life ahead of her. So much promise, so much to offer the world. "Come on, Andi, its only a sixth grade graduation," I told myself. Soon, the hands of the clock moved forward and it was time to begin.
The principal and teachers began handing out the awards-first for peer mediation, then band, and chorus. There were those kids who had not missed a day of school or been late or left early for the entire school year. Awards were presented for Physical Fitness as well as the Yearbook Committee and Student Council. It became apparent to me just how special these kids are. (I'm not saying we as parents haven't made sacrifices, stayed up late, gotten up early or been up all night laying awake worried about the outcome of certain events, but these kids are truly special in their own right.)
It was getting close to the end of the ceremony and the principal stepped up to the podium and began speaking. I was busy fiddling with my camera; I knew they were getting ready to pass out the certificates for completion of sixth grade and I wanted a nice picture of M receiving it. He was talking about passing out a special award to one individual who had displayed an exceptional attitude in their approach to education; someone who had worked hard in their academic achievements....."and that award goes to one particular young lady," and before I knew it, he had called my daughter's name. I was completely unprepared. My youngest could hardly contain herself, and I was speechless-so proud of M, knowing how much she deserved this special honor and how hard she had worked for it.
She got a pin, too.
And there you go, in the blink of an eye, she was only 2. Now she's twelve and so grown up! What a cliche, but where did the time go? I can't even begin to imagine what her senior highschool graduation will be like and the emotional shape I will be in. Just please help me with my camera, so I can make sure I catch that picture of her receiving her diploma.