same song, same theme, three years later

Three years ago, Jodie was placed in charge of the class of 2014 Senior awards and class favorites assembly before their commencement. Because it was almost as big of a deal as the commencement, she put her all into it to make it the most memorable and best ever. Clearly it was training ground for planning future events, her upcoming internship and her major. The theme of the event and music chosen for the video montage to be played was Drake’s Started from the Bottom. Seemed perfect. Everyone liked it; which is no easy feat with a diverse group of 350 people. Check that. Everyone liked it except for the one who had absolute power over all the Senior grad plans for the Class of 2014, the Senior Class Advisor. Mr. C. declared the theme Started from the bottom, now we’re here to be the absolute worst theme because the lyrics were, well, they were explicit. Never mind the Top 40 radio edit version was being used because the kids will KNOW the dirty lyrics. No, nope, no! He suggested another song as the theme with music and lyrics so banal that no one can recall what it even was.

And now three years later…

I present to you the 8th grade graduation theme. The clean version of course. As for Jodie, she’s not bitter. She’s too busy being a part of the planning of a state’s Taco Festival.

Meanwhile, I present to you the first day and last day of 8th grade.

Now we’re here!

does character even count anymore

In the current news cycle we have witnessed the character of men in positions of power and respect that almost compels us to shield our kids’ eyes and cover their ears. Someone tell me please, when did it ever become okay for a potential Member of Congress to grab someone by the throat and body slam them to the ground because they are tired of being asked questions? Is this really acceptable behavior, as some Greg Gianforte supporters stated today while exiting the polls in Montana? They want a Congressman who will react with violence? Members of Congress too? Paul Ryan and others stated today to the public that the gentleman did a bad thing and should apologize but they still support his run for office.

Nearly just as concerning is Gianforte’s aide Shane Scanlon’s statement of what happened; which certainly does not sync with the actual audio tape or the account of the Fox News reporter who was in the room when it happened. In other words, it was FALSE. This is okay?

Today we watched the man who is the current President behave so boorishly at the NATO that he proved to be not only a national embarrassment, but an international one as well. Mr. Trump represented our nation today as The Ugly American in Chief. Can someone please stop his European adventure now? Ivanka? Please? Liz Gumbinner is right – kids, don’t grow up to be like this.

This last week, I witnessed first hand questionable character in some that, well, disgusted me. Daniel’s graduation day was fast approaching and we found ourselves short just one ticket for Daniel’s sisters and parents. Just one ticket – how hard could it be to find one more ticket? Hard! After asking classmates and teachers with no success, I took to local social media and the results really surprised me: just forge a ticket, it’s no big dealsneak in either by lying or waiting until after ceremony has started. I was also lectured about my family’s size and the over-population of the planet. Daniel, upon hearing some of this offered that this is not who we are. It isn’t. Of course, there was much kindness, encouragement and support from friends, a member of the PTA, a former teacher and Daniel’s principal. We managed to find one ticket more and yes, Daniel’s dad, myself and his four sisters all got to be in that auditorium as he graduated from Middle School.

A very good thing because Daniel, his parents and his four sisters all were very pleasantly surprised as he was called forward for a special award recognizing his character.

Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness. Yes, we all cried a little because this is the young man that is our son and our brother. It really was a Wonder moment right out of the book. Character DOES count!

Watching Daniel and his classmates up on that stage, hearing some of them speak and their teachers speak, I believe that the kids will be better – so much better.

Meanwhile, we must continue to persist and hold on. Hurry up kids!

homework helper

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, known as West Allegheny Junior High School, I found myself drawing a lot of maps. At least it seemed that way because Mr. Campbell, the geography teacher, always assigned a drawing of each and every country we studied in our classroom tour of Europe. For me, map assignments were easy. I aced maps. I was so good, as a junior high aged kid, that I imagined that I would grow up to be a cartographer – a great cartographer. It would have been really cool, except for the math part. Dammit math!

But forty some years later, my map drawing skills come in handy as I assist my eight grader with his research project.

Just the map, Mom.

Best part was saying Phuket and snickering like a junior high boy.

That’s not how you say it, Mom!

the one he chooses

Just in case there is someone out there who hasn’t followed this circus life in the last year,

MY YOUNGEST CHILD IS GRADUATING FROM 8TH GRADE IN MAY!!!

Earlier this week, we attended a Welcome to High School meeting at the high school he will be registering for later this month and, again, I was overwhelmed with way too many emotions.
..my son…my miraculous son…my LAST child…HIGH SCHOOL…HOW IS THIS EVEN HAPPENING??!!
And then I was reminded that 8th grade pictures were due for the yearbook…the BABY pictures of the graduating 8th graders. Again came all the feels…just re-read the above.

Experience with the four siblings before him has taught me the importance of choosing the right baby picture because EVERYONE will be seeing that picture. Nakey baby, baby covered in food, dirt or gawd knows what, potty training baby or baby wearing anything that is not a legitimate hat upon their head kind of pictures are NOT ever the pictures that should be submitted for the baby pictures page…NO MATTER HOW CUTE! When in doubt it is best to consult the teenaged human child…always…trust me. But while it is important to consult the young graduate, it needs to be properly timed because adolescent angst and moodiness is everything and absolutely not the time to ask for their opinion.

I forgot and asked him anyway.

He shrugged and walked away.

While waiting for the right moment, I crowdsourced the question on social media. Everyone is OVER talking about politics and a thin-skinned president so why not?

For yearbook they want 8th graders’ baby pictures. Do I share the pic when he weighed 1 pound with all the tubes sustaining life or find a chubby baby pic when he was much older?

The response? 35% voted for the micro preemie, 28% voted for the “normal looking” chubby baby and 37% voted for him to choose. The biggest surprise for me was who voted for the chubby baby picture.

He was an adorable chubby baby…once he grew into a chubby baby with the help of a feeding tube in his belly and continuous, high caloric tube feedings. I imagine the chubby baby voters wouldn’t want to see the gastrostomy tube coming out of his stomach or the kangaroo feeding pump that was his shadow during those early years.

He was a beautiful micro preemie too. I wasn’t the only one who thought so during his 132 days in the NICU.

Looking through all the pictures of Daniel, as a micro preemie, as a growing baby and toddler, it is very hard for me to decide. I can’t decide. I ask him again, and, the sun and the moon and the stars were perfectly aligned so that he was willing to offer his opinion.

When I was tiny.

When you are tiny with all the tubes and wires attached to your body.

Yes. I’m a miracle. I want the tiny baby picture.

So he chooses and so it shall be.

 

and when they learn to read and write

I once said that I have never felt old while my children fast grew from babies to teenagers and adults, nor even when that first grand baby was born…or the second. But when that first grand baby started kindergarten, suddenly I began to feel a little bit old because life does speed up when the kids skip off to school. But it’s all good because when they learn to read and write they enchant you even more with thoughts and words and dreams and wishes that will always make your day.

Always.

I will leave this one right here for you, for me, for everyone…until she erases it and writes something else.

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve!