Today is the last day of school, and it’s the last day ever at this school for Captain Jelly Belly. He’s gone there since Junior Kindergarten, and now he’s graduating from Grade 8 – ten full years at the same place, on the same routine, with more or less the same set of kids. It’s a small school with a small graduating class and I’ve known most of them since they were wee little things – many of them, since they were still in diapers. And now they’re grown and moving on to high school next year and sunrise, sunset.
Here’s a weird thing: I’m totally fine. I am known in our house hold as A Cryer – I cry at all movies, happy or sad; most television commercials, funny or touching; pretty much every book I read, ever. I’ll tear up if I catch one of the kids doing something kind or when someone changes the page on the bunny calendar and there’s a new picture of baby bunnies and OMG SO CUTE.
But when it comes to major life events, I’m the absolute opposite. I don’t cry at funerals or weddings. And apparently, not at Grade 8 graduation ceremonies. The Captain had his yesterday, and I packed a wad of tissues – all those kids, so grown up! Moving on! Looking so earnest in their fancy clothes!
And yet, nothing. I mean, it was nice and all, but I didn’t feel particularly sad about it. I did have one small moment of emotion when I saw several of the girls clomping around in high heels, obviously trying them out for the first time, uncomfortable with the motion. It was sweet, but it felt more like watching kids play dress up, than seeing kids I know truly move from childhood to young adulthood.
I guess the thing is, they’ll always be small in my eyes. When the Captain was in Grade 1 or 2, I remember seeing the Grade 8s in their fancy clothes on graduation day and thinking, God, they are so HUGE. Not just physically big, but grown up, wearing makeup and ties and looking so eager to move on from this little place that they had outgrown.
But when I saw the kids yesterday, I could still see the youngsters they once were, even in the Captain. I just know them too well, and I know that behind their maturing exteriors, they’re still pretty little on the inside. Even the Captain, when I look at him, looks like my little kid. I have yet to find that way of stepping outside and taking a sober second look and seeing him fresh, like others will when he meets them next year at the high school.
I suppose it helps that I still have two kids at that school, so it wasn’t any kind of dramatic goodbye for me, personally. And it helps that I’m so, so ready for summer vacation that I’m looking forward to giving all school the big kiss off (5 more hours to go, and the last lunches already made and sent – WOOT).
But for today I’m just feeling pretty okay – okay with moving on, okay with moving up, and ready to see what the future holds.
Edited to add…
I just got home from picking up the kids on the last day of school, and the Grade 8s poured out of the school in tears, sobbing their heads off. The Captain himself was a mess – he’s a cryer, like his mom – and the minute I saw his crumpled face I burst into tears myself. Then we walked home in the rain with tears running down our faces and it was the tragic end of a French movie.
So much for being all stoic about it, I guess!