Summer has officially begun! Yesterday when I picked up the kids from school, we danced and sang all the way to the car. You know the song…”no more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks”. I was singing at the top of my vocal range, when Faith informed me that her teachers never gave her dirty looks. We decided to ride home in quiet celebration.
About five minutes after we arrived home and the children had put all their backpacks, folders, and extra pencils away Will asked his sister, “Hey Faith, you wanna go play school?” I swear to you he actually said those words. After nine months of complaints, the boy finally has come to terms with becoming educated I guess.
We’d been home a while when the kids sat down to eat lunch. They were chattering on and on about their favorite memories from the year, and how much they will miss their friends. As Will was literally taking a bite of his yogurt, he said, “Mom, can I have a snack?” It was at this point I realized we needed to give a refresher course in “Summer at the Repennings, and how not to make mom go crazy”. It includes such topics as: The kitchen is not an open buffet, and Why it is not a good idea to say the phrase, “I’m bored”. The last topic is more of rule, than a subject, and only applies to our oldest son Jack. The rule is he is only allowed three questions in a full 24 hour period. (if you feel this is borderline abuse, feel free to come spend about an hour with the boy)
Speaking of Jack, I could not be more proud my firstborn. Last night we attended his 6th grade graduation. We were told in advance to bring tissues, as it was going to be a very emotional night. I decided to wear a dress, much to Faith’s delight, and therefore had to use Billy’s pants pockets for my portion of tissues, chapstick, and various sundries. We arrived a little early for the big event and as a family we walked Jack to his elementary school classroom one last time.
Billy and I were keeping it together fairly well, that is, until the team of teachers came walking in holding hands, with the 6th grade class following behind. Each kid looked so big and excited, and very proud to have a night be all about them. Jack came in the gym looking around for us, in his white button down shirt and too big tie that he borrowed from his dad. He looked handsome and even confident as he waved to us and smiled his big mischievous grin. We couldn’t help but wave and smile back.
As the program went on, we were thrilled to see our former principal, Mr. Munier—who came to help give out awards. Almost all of the elementary teachers attended the event, in support of our kids, to hug each one individually as they received their certificates. We sat in the bleachers looking in awe at the dedication of those teachers and our hearts overflowed with gratitude for the immeasurable amount of love and wisdom they have poured into Jack for the past seven years.
The highlights of the night are too many to count, but I will say that when Jack’s teacher Mrs. Welch sang, “I hope you dance” I promise you there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. It was not just a pretty song, but more of a prayer for every single one of those kids. Jack’s other teacher, Mr. Burns spoke about maturity, and not being afraid to stay child-like as they continue their education. As each one was called to get their certificate, the teachers gave them a specific character trait that described the child perfectly. Jack was called “steadfast”, and Billy and I choked back our tears one more time as he made the way through the long line of hugs. Jack was grinning from ear to ear as he hugged his teachers from kindergarten through 6th grade. Each one has touched his life uniquely and he knows he’s been part of something special.
The last thirty minutes of the program was a slideshow showcasing each child individually and with their friends over the years. The music was fun and the pictures were met with a gazillion “Awwwws” throughout the whole thing. We didn’t want the evening to end. We stayed after talking to our special friends from years of car pools, field trips, and countless hours of standing out in front of the school waiting for the bell to ring. These people are part of our family—we know their kids and they know ours, and saying goodbye felt bittersweet.
So today is our first full day home together. Faith is still in pajamas and it’s nearly 2 pm. She and Will are playing “school” while Jack has two buddies over locked up in his room playing legos. My chores are done, and there’s no place I’d rather be than right here watching life go by.