Today the 6th graders at Tomahawk walked the halls of the school one last time while the lower grades stood by and watched. Teachers and parents cheered them on as they made a left turn near the office and walked out the door. They are leaving grade school behind forever.
This brought tears to some of the parents' eyes, present company not excluded. My little girl was going to junior high. Well here they call it middle school --whatever. Fewer crayons. Less innocence. More peer pressure. More adolescent angst.
But it wasn't that, so much as saying goodbye to all the stages of Lilah that had passed through those halls. Knowing how small she had been when she started Kindergarten there. And then came the book reports. The dioramas. The construction paper art projects. The costumes. The plays. The violin and the flute she lugged to school. The choir concerts. And how small she seemed through all of it, as if she were guaranteed to stay small.
Then today I look up and she's outgrown the elementary building that nurtured her for the last seven years, and the teachers are hugging her and waving goodbye. Her 1st grade teacher, now retired, came back to see them off. Which reduced me to soggy veclempt-ness. I saw another mother wiping her red, watery eyes. More veclempt-ness. This is only the 6th grade. How oh how will I handle high school graduation!
I was standing outside when the other kids burst out of the school. They were coming back in the fall, and their feelings seemed less complicated. They were FREE. A lot of them didn't hang around to say goodbye.