The time when we finish up a school year, celebrate all of the accomplishments, and acknowledge the milestones along the way. It's also the time of year when many parents completely lose it and sob until they are puddles of ridiculousness on the floor. Yep, that's right. I said it's ridiculous. Deal with it.
My oldest son is finishing the 5th grade, which means he is off to middle school this Fall. While his last day of school isn't until Wednesday, his closing ceremony was this past Friday. For the record, it cracks me up that this was called a 'closing ceremony' when many schools have a Kindergarten Graduation. What are you graduating from in Kindergarten? "Congrats! You are moving on to... the next hallway!" At least our 5th graders are moving on to an entire new school. Preschoolers are graduating more than Kindergartners are! High school graduations are a huge deal because it culminates thirteen years of education before going off to college. But Kindergarten? This is also ridiculous.
Sorry, I got distracted.
During the closing ceremony, there was a cute slideshow from this past year, as well as some old pictures from when this class was in Kindergarten themselves. While we weren't at this school back then, so my son wasn't in those photos, it was cute to see his friends smaller than I ever knew them. As the pictures rolled, the music got sappier and sappier, until finally there came the familiar:
Yes, "The Circle of Life" from The Lion King. I kid you not. People behind me were sobbing their eyes out. Did I join them? No. I, and thankfully my friends in front of me, burst out laughing. It was honestly a bit much.
This time of year is when people cry their eyes out about how much their babies have grown, and those will be the same people who will sob themselves into oblivion when school starts back up in the Fall because, "there's no way they can be that big!" What usually happens is all of the criers find each other and sob together, and those of us with dry eyes walk away because we refuse to be sucked into it. No thank you. I know a woman who when her child's preschool teacher handed her the paperwork to register for Kindergarten, she broke down into tears and ran away because she wasn't ready for it. That same woman's child is also finishing 5th grade this year, and I hope it doesn't kill her.
Death By Milestone seems like a lousy way to go.
What you sobbers need to know is not everyone cries at every milestone. Us "non-weepers" actually get really irritated when all of you are treated as if those tears mean you love your kids more, which in turn means that those of us smiling as our kids grow up just don't care. Non-Weepers love their kids just as much as you do, we are just excited for the next thing on the horizon for our children instead of cursing the passage of time, and are celebrating that they are just as excited. We love that they are growing up, because it is wonderful to watch.
My son can't wait to go to middle school. He has honestly been ready since the beginning of this school year, and I think he is simply over elementary school. Having to walk in a single-file line on the second tile silently with your hands folded is a necessity when the kids are in 1st grade. By 5th grade many of them want to scream, "For the love of all things sacred, can we please just walk to the cafeteria? Trust me, we know where it is." However, if those kids actually say that out loud, they are reprimanded for having an attitude. No, they're simply 11 years old, not 6, and want to be treated as such. Hey teachers, there is nothing wrong with that.
I am not weepy that he is going off to middle school next year. I am thrilled for him. It's about damn time he gets to be treated like the responsible almost-a-teenager he is.
As a non-weeper, I have spent the last decade with my children listening to people say to me along the way, "Don't you wish you could just freeze time and keep them this small?" NO! Absolutely not. In my opinion, wishing I could keep them as infants, or toddlers, or even 11 year old 5th graders, deprives them of a full life.
If my son was still an infant, he never would have learned to run.
If my son was still a toddler, he never would have picked up a baseball bat and discovered a game that he not only loves so much, but has taught him about hard work, perseverance, teamwork, never giving up, and friendship.
If my son had never gone to school, he wouldn't have learned to read and write, and therefore would have never been able to discover how exciting it is to learn new things, discover new ideas, and dive into a topic that stirs something inside of him. He never would have learned how fascinating it is to be fascinated.
I want my son to go off to middle school, because I want him to experience everything that that goes along with it. I want him to have harder classes so he can learn not only how to manage that but how to excel there. I want him to discover that some teenagers are great and some are assholes, because that is an incredibly valuable lesson that he will need for the rest of his life. I want him to have a crush on a girl, and maybe even have his heart broken a little bit, because that is the only way he can learn how to survive that. Who knows, maybe he'll find that girl who on their 50th wedding anniversary he is telling people, "I knew I wanted to marry her in the 7th grade." If that happens, I want him to experience that, too. How could I wish he was still crawling and deprive him of such a life?
To all of my fellow non-weepers, you are not alone. We know you are out there. Go love your kids, and be excited for them. Celebrate the milestones and everything that is coming up soon. It is going to be amazing.
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