The tragedy of motherhood is that you’re in a constant state of mourning. Each stage of childhood is so fleeting, and the child you love today quickly turns into someone else entirely. Exhibit A: The six-foot-two baritone in my kitchen; five minutes ago he was a little blonde toddler.
On the other hand, the great joy of motherhood is watching each child grow and learn and develop. You can almost see their wet wings unfurl and spread. To celebrate the start of summer, here’s a recap of what everyone accomplished this school year.
Roscoe – 10th grade
Roscoe triumphed in his first year at what to me seems like a huge high school. He had a challenging course load, including Chemistry, Spanish 4, and AP Language Arts. Last time I saw a progress report he had not just As, but like 97% in each class.
He has found a real passion for theater. In the fall he was in his school’s uber-competitive Shakespeare team, which went on to win about every award there was at the Cedar City Shakespeare festival. Roscoe totes around my huge Complete Works of Shakespeare from college as he sings songs from musicals.
In addition, his drive to do good and be good remains absolutely stunning. He is a fantastically pleasant, engaged, and service-minded person.
Logan – 7th grade
Logan also started a new school this year. He moved from elementary school to middle school at Hawthorn Academy, a new charter school in our area. He though he’d hate the school, but decided he loved it within a week or two. Then he went through a rough period of adolescent angst. He became a rude and uncooperative person who did basically zero schoolwork. Our super social young man spent hours alone in a darkened bedroom. This mama shed many tears on his behalf. I used every shred of energy and patience my pregnant self could muster to hold the line on expectations and consequences. It was really all a mess.
Then sometime after Christmas, his mind and heart clicked up a gear. Suddenly homework happened, arguing diminished, he came out of his room. He was so much more pleasant, earned so much more trust and privileges, and was such a happier person.
By the end of the year, the teacher with whom he had kind of had a relationship of mutual frustration, was lauding him in front of the school as a stellar example of the results of a positive attitude.
I’m so grateful that Logan had these experiences this year. Really. He learned some valuable lessons about who he is, who he wants to be, and the happy consequences of decent behavior. I love the young man he’s becoming.
Levi - 3rd grade
They say third grade is a big milestone because it’s the year they stop teaching you how to read and how to do school and start just teaching you. It’s the first of the big-kid grades. Levi remains a strong student and a pleasant, cooperative class member. Last week he won the “Leadership” award for his class for his all-around good citizenship.
To me the most exciting thing Levi did this year was read the entire Harry Potter series. Like Roscoe and Logan in their day, Levi began the series when its reading level was still a bit above his head. But the story is so gripping, that the kids read and read and read. And their reading level keeps up with the advancing complexity of the books. Harry Potter and co. are part of our daily family discourse.
Levi also deepened his love of sports this year. He wore his two Jazz jerseys to tatters and insisted on donning thin athletic shorts throughout our snowy winter. He played fall and spring soccer as well as winter basketball. He also took his first year of piano lessons.
Haley – 1st grade
First grade is a bit of mini-adolescence as kids transition from little preschooler/kindergarteners to full-blown school kids. Haley learned to keep up with the big kids by going to school all day, riding to the school with the scooter pack, reading chapter books, and playing her own season of soccer. Don’t tell Levi, but her reading level is just a step or two behind his.
Just between you and me, Haley’s rough start in life presents her with challenges to this day. And will, perhaps, forever. I’m so grateful that academics have come so easily to her. At school she is in her element, doing things she knows she’s good at and that she enjoys.
Jesse – second year of preschool
Oh, Jesse. You know I love him. But letters and numbers he still does not know. Fits he still throws. Cooperation is not among his skills. The boy acts like a three-year-old most of the time. My current plan is to enroll him in kindergarten next year. And the year after. Jesse’s charm, energy, and creativity know no bounds. But I think he’ll benefit from the gift of an extra year of maturity and development.
Betsy - zero
This is perhaps the biggest year of Betsy’s life. At the end of last school year she was nothing more than a twinkle in her mother’s eye. Throughout the year she piled on neurons and organs and eyelashes. She is now a whopping three months old, with rolls of chub and bright eyes that testify to her bright future.