Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First of the lasts

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.


Alicia said...

but at least I know I've done everything I can.

And that, my dear, is what it's all about. I sent my older son off to middle school this year, and it really is a remarkable feeling: I am seeing more independence in him, more self-motivation. Granted, we're still on only the third week of school, but I'll take what I can get!

Humincat said...

Sounds like you've done a great job. Here, 6th IS middle school, so my Cateyes has moved on already. It seems like a big step for me, but as we put her in a small charter school, I don't have to worry TOO much about what is really going down. This school has a huge waiting list so if at any point a kid is a problem, he/she is out and another hopeful student is brought in. In comparison to the local middle school where high heels, full makeup, smoking, and booty-shorts are all "unnacceptable"-but seen daily. I guess I'm just not ready to throw her to the wolves.