I am the mother of a Jr. higher.
I may look calm and collected, but believe me,
It really set in when we arrived at Hessel Church for the actual graduation and I laid eyes on all the girls graduating 6th grade.
What had happened to them?
They all looked like Amazons.
Well, awkwardish, giggly, eye-rolling Amazons.
Which was funny because all the BOYS in the class looked like they'd just come from the Shire.
We sat up close for optimal photographic documentation.
That, and I wanted to be sure Greg Dabel, the World's Tallest Man, didn't sit in front of me again this year.
Chloe sat with anticipation at seeing Alena up front and at hearing the songs.
Her hands in her lap. Her eyes sparkling as she recognized other kids.
Tessa - not so much.
Tessa found a hymnal and rifled through the pages. LOUDLY.
Tessa climbed on the backs of the pews like she was on a rock climbing wall.
Tessa pulled her pants legs up to her thighs.
Tessa drew on my skin and cheek with a pencil.
I never thought I'd hear myself say, "We don't draw on Mommy with pencils."
The program began in its usual way.
With the Pleasant Hill Christian School hand bell recital. Gloves and all.
Hand bells still exist in this century.
This particular hand bell recital was even MORE special, however, because it required audience involvement to "imagine" the F sharp.
That particular bell had somehow gone missing;
An event that caused a 5 minute delay and awkward facial exchange between the teacher and the smallest student.
(Who happened to look strikingly like one of the Sister Wives - but that is a whole other story.)
Through the whole recital, Justin kept drawing large imaginary question mark symbols on my back with his finger - Something we do when one of us doesn't understand what on earth is going on and we aren't in a place to vocalize it.
I kept wiggling free and telling him to stop.
That people behind us could see him doing that and "What if that's THEIR child you're question marking about?!"
He question marked the boy in chest high pants.
He question marked the hand bell teacher's homemade music note vest.
He question marked various odd parents.
The graduation followed suit with the standard collection of songs and dances.
If you can call what Jr. highers do singing and dancing.
It's more blushing, looking at their peers and hair flipping.
I was beginning to think the wad of toilet paper I'd grabbed in the bathroom before hand when I couldn't find a box of tissue wasn't going to be necessary.
But then the real stuff started.
PHCS always gives kids awards for academic achievement and for character trait.
This year Alena got an award for reading and for encouragement. I was very proud.
Then the teacher announced that they would now be giving out the President's Award for Academic Excellence - an award that required an A average for the previous 3 years straight.
The award would only be going to two, and those kids were.......
Nathan Flood and ALENA SANTORINEOS!
THAT'S MY DAUGHTER!
I pulled out the toilet paper.
Good thing I hadn't lined my lower eyelids.
That was my kid.
I had bred genius!
At least ONE of them was safe, I thought, as I looked over at Tessa who was now trying to eat an offering envelope.
Then when I looked at Chloe she leaned to me and whispered,
"I farted. Can you smell it?"
One at a time.
Next they showed the slide show of pictures spanning from when the kids were in kindergarten to sixth grade.
That was my baby up there with her chin length A-line and excited brown eyes.
Justin leaned over to me to whisper, "Are you CRYING?!" and when I looked at him to shoot him a dirty look, I realized he was smiling and crying, too.
So now she passes from child to pre-teen.
From a world of fun and fancy-free to boy drama and frustrations.
If she's anything like me, learning the various rock formations will take backseat to things like if no one commented on her new outfit or making sure every.single.hair. in her bangs is perfectly side swept.
It doesn't matter if her fingers constantly on them make them look like an oil slick - At least they're all to the right.
I just can't believe I'm old enough to have a Jr. higher.
True, I did start earlier than most of my peers, but still - I feel like I'm just NOW getting the hang of the adulthood stuff and even THAT is hit and miss.
I have no earthly clue how I'm supposed to guide a young mind solidly through the mires.
Most of the time the instructions I'm giving were pulled out of you-know-where and I just say them in a way that make me SOUND like I know what I'm talking about.
The lower and firmer the tone, the more you know.
Most of the time I have to google her homework questions.
Basically - It's a crap shoot.
But apparently, my aim is good, because she's turning out rather well.
She is beautiful, helpful, caring, and respectful.
The other two - Well - That remains to be seen.
We'll have to wait to see if Chloe can make it through school without falling apart over every imperfect grade or if, heaven forbid, someone else gets to take the class pet home for the summer. I can just see her lunch sack doubling as an anti-hyperventilation tool.
We'll have to hold our breath and just HOPE Tessa doesn't get expelled for reckless endangerment of other students or graffiti and arson.
How many notes will get sent home?
How many teachers will seek early retirement?
I just know, as I've said before, I'm getting what I deserve, as most all my report cards said something along the lines of:
"Kerri is a very good student, but needs to work harder to stop bothering other students during class time. Likes to talk a little too much."
But what did they know.
They weren't so great.
What kind of REAL teachers suspend a second grader for "witchcraft" because she tells some kids on the playground that she has a secret potion that can make you shrink back at home?
Isn't that just a KID thing?
In our house mischief equals spirit and spirit equals endless possibility.
So reach for the stars, girls.
We Greens are bred for greatness.
Even if greatness is picking its nose.