Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Arrena Says Good-bye to Elementary School

So, today the mama is a little emotional.  This is the last day of school for the 2011-2012 school year.  Sounds pretty normal, but this year is a little different.  Today is the last day that all of my children will be at the same school.  That means that my oldest, Arrena, is leaving elementary school behind and going to middle school.  And I don't even have all summer to get used to that idea.  She starts middle school summer school in a week and a half.

Where did the time go?  Seems like just yesterday she was a little thing.  Actually, it seems like just last week I was in middle school myself...but reality is that I am closing in on my 20th high school reunion faster than I can imagine.

Arrena is about as teary about this life change as I am.  She commented the other day about how fast this year has flown by.  I replied, "I'm afraid it only goes faster as you get older."  She has been getting sentimental nearly every day: "Today was my last library day at this school."  "Today is the last day I get to see so-and-so because he/she is going to a different middle school."  "Today was my last elementary school Fun Day," etc., etc., etc.

As I was reflecting on the end and beginning for her, I thought back to those times for me.  I remember leaving elementary school very excited.  That year was the change from junior high to middle school.  My class was the last 6th grade class in the elementary school.  We went from being the last 6th grade kings of the school to middle school, skipping the whole babies of junior high thing since the outgoing fifth graders came up with us.  I remember the transition from middle school to high school being bittersweet.  We were excited to be moving on to bigger, better things, but also sad at the end of a chapter.  Leaving high school seemed so exciting at the time.  We'd finished something and were taking on the world.  I was getting married, moving to Germany, and looking forward to college.  In retrospect, that chapter closing was sad because many of the people that I thought were really close friends didn't take long at all to drift away.  And hindsight is always 20/20.  I couldn't wait to get out and get on.  Knowing what I know now, I wish I hadn't been so hellbent to break away.

As Arrena rushes headlong into growing up, I long to hit a "slo-mo" button.  I want her to be a kid as long as she can be.  I remember all the struggles I faced in middle school, high school, and adulthood.  I recall the teen angst, the depression, the friends, the boys, the academics, the entire concept of figuring out who and what you are.  I hope and pray that God helps me to prepare her for her life.  Please, Father, let me be a good mom.  Allow me to help her and please spare her from all the scary things that I can't fix and must trust to You.

I stood there on the side of the gym this morning, watching the final assembly with Arrena's friend's mom.  We both held wads of Kleenex and video cameras and wept quietly as the fifth graders filed past all the teachers, saying their goodbyes.  In my mind's eye, I could see that little girl that I took to Kindergarten somewhere behind that too grown-up face, inside that nearly as tall as me body.  Six years have flown by and I dread watching the next six careen past me, when my lovely daughter will be turning eighteen and getting ready to graduate and start her life.  That concept is too much for me.  It takes my breath away, so for now, I have to enjoy each day with her.  And thank God for this amazing girl that He placed in my life.  For right now, I have to go drive to the school and pick up my three children from elementary school for the last time.  The world isn't going to wait for me to catch up.

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