Friday, June 05, 2015

End of school- for the 7th grade

It is always with deep pleasure that I write about the end of the school year. We start a countdown weeks in advance to the minute we are free... free for the Summer that is... and we have been in countdown for several weeks this year. The school year included time in June, which in my day was unheard of... and this year it included a makeup day on one of our countries sacred holidays. Well, I say that, but you know, it is fast becoming just a day to have the first bar-b-que of the year... Memorial Day.
Traditionally this day has been to remember the dead of the War between the States. but it grew into remembering all our fallen soldiers. To many, it is a day to remember that we aren't free without the shedding of blood... and that takes on such deep meaning.

a few of my son's awards... I am very, very proud, but the medals
 don't have anything to do with it!
So, We are officially in Summer now. But this year has been a bit different from all the past years. I suppose it is because my son is getting older, but there seems to be a bit more in there. Maybe that he isn't in elementary any more, that makes a huge difference, but that he is not being awarded a lot for being one of the good kids. I mean, they kind of created an award system for kids like him in elementary. Giving "leaves" on the "Kindness Tree" and "Good Citizen Award" for those kids that didn't get anything else, but were so good in class...He's one of those kids that you just don't really have to discipline... he's not one of those kids that will ever make the perfect attendance, or the most outgoing... or even the most athletic. He's pretty average I guess. I do think he's terribly intelligent. He, at 12 years old, has already taken the college entrance (ACT) exam, and he is in the Duke TIP, and he received the Presidential Achievement Award last year.. but that is simply from me and a few people that really loved him a lot pushing him and pushing for him.

It has been hard with his dad passing away so early in his life. Without that bit of manly guidance, he has had to learn many things from me, which I know is embarrassing for him and for me. He has taken a long time to get over his dad passing. I say get over... to heal is a better word. He will never 'get over' him passing away.
 We were talking yesterday morning before he got out of bed. We do that a lot, just hang out in the morning before we have to get busy and out the door. I think of his father when the boys were young. They were always  wanting to get him up because they were bright and shining and he was slow at waking... the boys would go and jump on him and start a wrestling match, each taking turns at crawling around, over, and under (his bent legs) and flopping on his belly...
When my son and I talk about the 'old days' it is nice and calmly, we don't cry anymore. We  can actually have a  good laugh talking about that time when things were right in the world. These are the things that I want my son to remember about his dad and about me as well, that time we spent together.  I want him to remember him climbing onto his dad's arm and hanging like a monkey for dear life. I want him to remember when we went to the ball games or the hockey matches. I want him to remember the walks in the park, the camping trips, the picnic under the tree, tickling and laughter...

So the end of school this year was kind of bittersweet. My son was really ready for school to end, but was really going to miss the other kids, the schools are changing now, into "Middle School" and there is the potential with the new zoning that they will not be together again...
Award day came around,  the boy  did get one award... the  A-B Honor Roll..which was an honor,  but there was nothing about him being a really good, quiet, hard working, really good kid.... and I guess I was kind of let down. I think about the sadness when he found out he wouldn't be allowed to have the award for no absences... because his locker stuck and he was late for class several times... he had a substitute teacher several times when it stuck and that teacher couldn't help him, so he was unexcused to his next class. One day, a substitute counted him absent when he was there. He got detention for the tardies, I handled the absence through the principle. But for getting detention he was given an absence for his tardies... which put him out of the running for never missing a day of school.. which you might think is nothing, but to him it was crushing.
I can tell you a bit of how my son feels about school. He has always been excited about going to school. From a couple of years before being able to go to school... my son has begged to go. He has cousins that are older and he always wanted to go to school like they did.
 My son wanted nothing more in life than to have friends and teachers and to be in a school building.After a rough first day, things settled in and my son made friends quickly, even though he spent the whole year NOT talking to anyone.
The boy didn't talk the whole year in class. His teacher liked him, because he was never a problem. He was sick a lot, I complained a lot about sanitary conditions... and we got a letter stating how school policy allowed only X amount of missed days...

First grade was basically the same...Just add in Whooping Cough... yes he had his vaccinations....we found out the hard way that they don't completely prevent this... just make the case less severe (or so they say) Many, many other kids had it as well.
Second grade, ditto... just change whooping cough to strep throat
Third, fourth, fifth, sixth... all the same.
I had to go to a mandatory counseling session because he had missed too many days... I complained to them... and was excused...
I mean, we had doctor's notes for each time...and in 6th grade, my son's grandfather passed away, my mother had major surgery... I had surgery on my eyes... blah, blah, blah...
You can see, however,  how it would have been a wonderful thing if my son had been able to finally have some sort of award to show that he made it to school every day... but, well, the school knows best, right?

I had to stop myself.


 WHAT was I thinking? What did I just say???

There is not anything that I should be upset about.

My son actually got an award... Hey, the A-B Honor Roll is a good award.

There are so many kids that were sitting in the stands that didn't get any award. A couple of my son's friends are really good kids, but they never get awards... They have struggled day after day and never have been singled out for an award... They are good kids and they really try at school...ok, one I can think of that  is a good kid, but he doesn't really try... but you know what?

There are kids that have parents that are drug addicts... that have been tossed around, who have been basically on their own... there are kids that are in hiding from one parent or another because of violence... there are kids that are in violent situations... there are kids whose parents work all the time, that aren't there for any function...There are kids that have learning disabilities that are so severe that they just can't function...

Why should I be so worried about a piece of paper or a medal... when my son has been so blessed. Yes, blessed.  Yes, he lost his father way too early, yes this last year was hard, his grandfather dyig and so much with my mom... Yes, he has been terribly sick over the years and has had to struggle, and we are broke all the time, struggling some months to stay afloat, but hey! He is a very intelligent, strong, kind, loving kid... He will make it without something to "prove" that he is special.

It is me that needs to see that.

I had been moping around for a week before I realized this... and then I came across this today: For All the Parents Whose Kids Won’t Get an Award . Sara Borgstede wrote this poignant blog that made me stop in my tracks at wishing for more...Why is it we are so blind to what is really important?
It made me want to cry.
You see...
I know what it is like to not get an award. Me who fights so hard for my kids...

I was one of those kids that moved a lot,
I was one of those kids that didn't have a parent come to much of anything...I love my mom, but she just didn't have much time for that sort of thing especially after my father died, I always felt alone.
I was one of those kids that was sick all the time, that had more days out of school than in, some years. I was the kid that wanted to go to school, I wanted to learn but struggled because of my eyesight and hearing.
I was that High School kid that worked at the fast food restaurant, and struggled to buy gas for an old beat up car, because my dad had died when I was 14 and it was just my mom and I.
I was that kid that was bullied for years.I wore thick glasses and was awkward.

 I protect my kids vehemently.

Is that why I want so much more for my kids?
Is that the reason that I push my kids so hard to fit in?

That is the reason that I worked hard to be able to get my kids the things they need and the things to help them get ahead... I pushed my daughter for years to do better, to get out there, to work hard and be a part of anything she could.
I have tried to push my son, into doing better in academics, but I haven't been able to push him socially. I mean, he is never going to be outgoing... my daughter isn't either, but she is better than she used to be. I made sure she was in Girl Scouts, Church Groups, Ballet, Gymnastics, Tap, Jazz.... She was in Band, and I tried to get her out there... to be able to have some sort of foot up even though we weren't wealthy or socially acceptable...
But with my son, it has been so difficult to push so hard. I mean, he's doing more than some kids... but we didn't do Boy Scouts. He wouldn't talk to the leader... and they have to to get their badges. It was just after my husband passed away and he just wouldn't talk, and I didn't have the energy, quite literally, to be present and to coax him...
He did play football, which gave him that 'cool' status, but got a couple of hard, hard hits...
He plays tennis now, and he's pretty good at it, but he won't get an award for it...
He plays in the band, and he's pretty good at it... but he won't get an award for it...

I need to know that it is ok... that he won't die because he doesn't get recognized... it could be so much worse. I do know that.There is no reason to wish that our kids are recognized or even to be upset if they don't excel to some high set goal... What is the mindset here? WE are blessed.
We are truly blessed.
Blessed beyond what we need. We go through such trivial, first world problems, and are not in true need. There are so many examples around us of need, true need. Throughout the world we see people living in strife, squalor, pain and suffering, with fear, persecution, and famine...
All the while:
We eat, we have shelter, we have clothing, and so much more. We have love.
Our family may be dwindling, but we still hold on to each other. WE are a family, my kids and I. And we can choose to let others in, and to let others be part of our family, and we can, as a family, face most every problem there is
... and that is probably the best comfort, and best reward there is.

We don't need no stinkin' award!

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