My Time Is Now My Own

I’m done!  We’re finished!  It’s almost over!  This month will soon be a distant yet fond memory.

As a kid, I never liked the month of June.  It was the last month of school before the joys of summer, and therefore it was always the slowest moving month.  It never seemed to end.  Time stretched agonizingly slow toward that last Friday, the last day of school.  We didn’t do anything in class during those last few weeks.  We cleaned out our desks and if you were a teacher’s pet (like I was) you helped clean out the teacher’s desk and closets.  We were allowed to bring in cards, or board games or comic books.  In sixth grade (I think), we were allowed to bring in records to dance to.  Mr. Cohen was the coolest teacher.

As an adult-or more specifically, as a mom- I dread June even more than I did when I was a kid.  June brings end-of-year class parties, teacher appreciation gifts, dinners to celebrate moving up or graduations.  Plus trips and parties for Girl Scouts, Sunday School, soccer…  honestly, these events should be fun times, times to be cherished.  Realistically?  It’s an expensive, exhausting time of year.  Proms, dances, yearbooks, limos, cupcakes, helium tanks, graduation gifts, days off…it all adds up.  Thank goodness it only comes once a year.  Didja notice that the end of the school year is almost EXACTLY six months after Christmas?  I want to kiss the person that planned that.  It gives me six months to save up!

So another school year is over.  Not only did Beena graduate, but Zombiegirl is now a Fifth-Grade Graduate.  Here on Long Island, we go into Middle School (Junior High School) in sixth grade.

To celebrate moving up, her elementary school does a little free-for-all event a week prior to their graduating.  Fifth Grade Fun Day raises money all year to give these kids a cook-out/carnival/dance party on the field behind the school.  The fundraising initiative raised enough dough to provide a catered BBQ, DJ (thanks, Steve!) and games, face painting, balloons, ice cream and swag bags (thanks, Best Yet!)  It’s also the day they get their yearbooks and start the mad flurry of collecting 11-year old witticisms. (Will this generation EVER learn to spell “you’re”?)

MR and I, along with 25+ other parents, decorated the field and ran the games and other events.  I was in charge of the GOLD TEAM- ten kids I led around from event to event to event.  I personally knew only one of those kids- the rest looked at me like I was crazy when I started cheering “Let’s go GOLD TEAM!” (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap) or when I tied myself to the Co-Chair of the PTA to demonstrate the 3-legged race.  They eventually warmed up and got into the spirit.  I AM so a frustrated cheerleader…

It WAS a fun day!  Exhausting, but fun.  We didn’t sit down for seven straight hours so when we got home, we vegged on the couch for the rest of the night.

The following week continued the craziness with Z-girl going in early three days to roam the halls with all the other fifth-graders to collect more autographs from teachers and staff.  She’s practicing the graduation songs that will invariably make me cry.  I’m making and decorating cupcakes to give to the principal, staff and teachers.  The principal likes my cupcakes.  She gets one every time there’s a party.

Finally, it’s graduation day.  The blue-haired little sk8r soccer chick I call my daughter puts on the dress she wore for her Communion.  This will be the first time most of her friends and classmates have seen her in a dress.  She claims she’s a little nervous.  I wonder if it’s because of graduation, or the dress?

Seventy-five kids walking down the aisle to Pomp and Circumstance,singing their songs, getting their diplomas.  I find that if I continue to take pictures, I don’t cry as much as I thought I would.  That theory goes out the window when they announce the recipients for the 2010 Most Outstanding Physical Education Student award.  There were two- a boy and a girl.  Guess who the girl was?  Yeah, she’s not only pretty, she’s a jock.  This award embodies the spirit of sportsmanship and athleticism.  We were shocked.  SHE was shocked!  In retrospect, however, we shouldn’t have been shocked.  This kid has been active in sports since she was three- soccer, tennis, swimming, horseback riding, gymnastics, skateboarding, baseball, and most recently, that ripstick thing.  We really shouldn’t have been surprised. And yes, I cried.

I thought it was over, but then the principal announced that the presenter of the next award got stuck at another school and would be late.  The principal explained that there were a number of candidates sent to the State Comptroller’s office- students that demonstrated leadership, academic excellence and civic commitment, among other things.  Out of all those candidates, three students were chosen to receive this award Stephanie, (the Girl Scout leader’s daughter) Sophia, (the Fifth-Grade Fun Day organizer’s daughter) and Zombiegirl (whose mother didn’t do a blessed thing this year.)  We hooted and hollered while she made her way to the stage, again.  Woo hoo, my kid is Wan Zie!

Ah.  Wan Zie.  The superstar student who ran away with the Valedictorian position and most of the scholarships and awards at Obdurate Daughter’s graduation a few years ago.  Every time an award was announced, it was Wan Zie who won it.  We started pressing Zombiegirl to “Be Wan Zie!”  I want my kid to be Valedictorian.  I want to hear her name being called up for award after award.  What parent doesn’t want their kid to “Be Wan Zie?”  I only hope this one listens to us and heeds our advice…

Anywhoo, we walked two and a half feet above the ground out to the reception tent on the field after the ceremony.  Zombiegirl insisted on changing into her Converse High-tops (which looked very cute with her dress…I should have let her wear them anyway…it was so… HER) and everyone was coming up and congratulating her.  I think she liked the fact that she got these awards, but was embarrassed with the attention.  We’ll have to work on that.

After cake at the reception and a couple of more photo ops, we went home to pick up Dad and Beena and go to Benihana’s for dinner.  Before we left, we gave Zombiegirl her graduation gift- a family trip to Puerto Rico.  It’s really a trip for Beena and Z-girl- something we’ve never done, gone on a “real” vacation.  My in-laws are going as well as Beena’s boyfriend, John.  I bought her a package of those “silly bandz” in beach shapes and a package of beach stickers.  I printed out a small picture of the PR flag, as well as a beach scene with “You are here” typed on it.  This site lets you print up bogus airline tickets (there really IS everything on the Interwebs…) so I input her info and printed it out for her to figure out what all this stuff meant.  The look on her face was priceless!  And worth every penny this graduation gift cost.

So now graduation is over.  The parties are over.  June is almost over and I am glad.  All that lay ahead of me is work, vacation, work, vacation, work and then vacation!  Throw a little bit of soccer training in there, a Baptism (or four), some house repairs and weekends at the beach house and I’m looking at an awesome summer.

Thanks Beena and Zombiegirl for graduating.  You make a mama proud!


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