Tonight, as I was working on G's back-to-school forms, I realized that this is the last time I will ever do paperwork for elementary school. Next year she'll be in seventh grade, and while I'm sure there will still be a shedload of forms to fill in, they won't be for this school, the only school she's ever attended. It's the end of an era, or at least the beginning of the end.
Filling in this final round of elementary-school forms also represents the completion of a goal for me. I was determined from the beginning that G should have a stable, consistent school experience: by the time I reached sixth grade, I'd been to seven schools in five states, and while in retrospect I probably did get something out of all that diversity (if nothing else, I know that in Louisiana the cafeteria serves red beans and rice, and in New Jersey it serves shepherd's pie), when I was in the middle of it, it felt like endless chaos and upheaval. Just as I'd start to settle into a school, make some friends and feel as if I belonged, we'd move and I'd have to start all over. I remember begging and pleading to stay in certain places, but there was nothing my parents could do about it; we had to go, and so we went.
In contrast, G has grown up in the community of a single school, knowing what to expect each year from the kindergarten play to the third-grade bell choir to the sixth-grade chicken-mummifying experience, and I think it's been a calm center for her at times when other parts of her life haven't been as calm as I would have liked. I don't know if it'll have an enduring positive effect on her, but at least I know I've done everything I can.