Hello friends, and welcome back! I'm a little bit emotional this week, and I just need to chat about life in general, so let's settle in for a cup of coffee!
This past Tuesday was Henry's 8th grade graduation from the K-8 Catholic school he's been at since 1st grade (that's quite a trip down memory lane, that link I just posted. I'm going to try not to cry again 😭). I took it HARD. This was surprising even to me: "Tiffany. It's 8th grade. It's not even a real graduation! Get a grip!" But there it is. I had a very difficult time with it.
I went to public school. The longest I was ever at any school was 6 years from kindergarten through 6th grade, and I don't have particularly fond memories from any of the three schools I attended before college. But my kids' school...it's different. It's a family. Everybody knows your name there. Everybody cares. Many of the people working there, as well as parents of other kids, are alumni of the school. The class sizes are small, and a warm and fuzzy sense pervades. A few pertinent anecdotes:
A beloved kindergarten teacher passed away two years ago, after teaching at this school for *37 years*. The Pre-k and kindergarten wing of the school is now named for her, because she was such a fixture there, teaching kindergarten to multiple generations of families. The school was emotionally gutted when she died.
Henry's 8th grade class held a tribute to the Pre-k 4 teacher, who came to the school the year that this particular class started Pre-k. Now those 4 year olds are leaving and going to high school. There wasn't a dry eye in the house for that one.
I never had a school experience like this. And Henry has been there for 8 years. He started there when I was pregnant with Anne, and I had prayed a novena for Mike to be won over to this school, to provide the impetus to move him from where he was to somewhere we'd have to pay tuition for him to attend. And he was. And it was one of the best decisions we ever made.
This school is a place of comfort and solace to me. It's warm and welcoming, and it's a community filled with faith. Anne will still be there for 6 more years, and the alumni certainly seem to keep up with the school, so I'm certain that it will always be in our lives. But my Henry, my first child, my guinea pig, the one I fretted over whenever we had to make a big change like this one due to his shyness and sweet nature, the one who spearheaded our foray into Catholic education...he won't be there anymore. My kids headed off to school, together, for the very last time. When I drive by the building every day on my way to work, and pray a Hail Mary for each of them, he won't be inside anymore. He's headed to a Catholic boys high school that he is SO EXCITED about, and I know that he will be in excellent hands there, but I keep coming back to something that repeatedly makes me cry:
It's the end of an era.
Anne owns a soft spot in my heart because she is my baby, but Henry owns an equally large soft spot because he is my first child, my beloved little boy who changed my life forever when he was born. Now he's heading off to something much larger and in some ways scarier, and certainly something that we have not experienced before with our kids: high school. He's becoming a young man, and while it's exciting to see, I'm also dreading all of these changes and all of the new worries that come along with them. I'm trying very hard, but I've been crying every single day. And my anxiety has been flaring up quite badly. But I keep trying.
Henry has some basketball goings on this summer at his new school, and he's also starting a work study program there to help fund his tuition. He'll ease in, to be sure, and they have an entire freshman welcome program designed to aid the kids in the transition. Most of the boys from his 8th grade class are also attending there, so he will see some familiar faces. And that's a good situation, because they're all really good kids. But it's going to be a BIG change.
I'm trying to hang in there over here, I promise. Mike hasn't started summer term teaching yet, so he's been home in the mornings after the kids go to school, and we've been talking a lot. About all of this and how we're struggling to handle it, each in our own way. It helps to have someone to talk to about it. My crafting has been a happy distraction, as has my dancing. I'll be posting about each of those in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, I'm going to keep slogging on and hope that these emotional reactions to every little thing abate. I suppose it's part of the parenting journey, but it sure is cramping my style. :-0
I hope the rest of you are having a good week. I appreciate all virtual hugs and prayers! I guess I'm a little needy right now. 🤗