I can't vouch for any others, but in our school district, it's only called "graduation" when it's at the end of high school, so yesterday I attended Thing Two's fifth grade "promotion" ceremony. I was really torn because the timing of Thing One's eighth grade promotion ceremony meant that we would have to "divide and conquer". Of course, I really wanted to attend both, so deciding who would attend which ceremony was difficult. In the end, I realized that since it was not only Thing Two's promotion, but the end of our time at the elementary school, I would have more regrets about missing hers, so Hubby attended Thing One's.
I'm really glad I decided the way I did. Someone recently pointed out to me that Paul probably factored into the intensity of my feelings about leaving the elementary school, and I believe she was right. Thing One was in kindergarten when we discovered I was pregnant with him and still in kindergarten when we started the roller coaster that began with our 20-week ultrasound and learning Paul had a heart defect. Teachers, parents, and kids from the school attended Paul's memorial service and were incredibly supportive. Over the years, I became friends with many of the parents and teachers. Mrs. Ingersoll has been a tremendous support as my kids have gone through their various trials and tribulations. The secretaries have been friendly and caring from day one. Some of the other kindergarten moms were pregnant when I was, and their children, born around the time Paul was, are now going into third grade.
Yeah. It was hard. Harder than I anticipated. I managed to hold it together, but the hardest part was actually physically leaving the school. I had a really hard time doing it. As Thing Two and I walked to the car, she asked me, "Why are you walking so slowly, Mom?" After we got in the car, I found myself driving v-e-r-y slowly. I'm sure if I'd been alone, I would have had to pull over because of crying. Thing Two could sense this, so she told me not to cry. I obeyed, then took her to McDonald's for a $1 ice cream cone (uh, for her, not me).
SO, back to the happy stuff! As always, the promotion ceremony was well-organized and well-run and barely lasted an hour. As always, Mrs. Ingersoll cried. One kid from each class - including the two Special Ed classes that had fifth graders - gave a speech. Yes, the typical kids' speeches were well-written and well-delivered, but the Special Ed boys' speeches were the most meaningful. It's one thing to see kids who have excelled all the way through (one boy during fifth grade left school early every day to head over to a local middle school for geometry class) give speeches, but to hear from kids who had to fight and struggle to learn to write anything, much less a speech, was much more meaningful and touching.
Here are some highlights:
The scarf Mrs. Ingersoll wore yesterday? I dyed it for her in my dye class and gave it to her on "Principal Appreciation Day" a few weeks ago. (I gave the secretaries hand-dyed scarves yesterday, and they both loved them. Woot!)
As my dad would say, "Onward and upward!"