Saturday, June 02, 2007

End of an Era

Last night, at 8:30 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time, the youngest child of the Hares stepped up to the sanctuary in our parish church and received her diploma from the pastor.

Thus ends 16 years of Hare family involvement in our local parish school.

I took yesterday off and Hubs (who has every Friday off) and I spent it basically involved in the last day of grammar school for DD#2. We went to the final morning assembly. We helped serve at the breakfast. We watched the Final Prayer Service where the 8th Graders line up and every student teacher, and aide said their good-byes. We took pictures as they stood in the Middle School Quad, holding hands in a circle, listening and counting down for the final bell.

And, of course, we went to the Graduation Ceremony that night.

Coincidentally, it was also the regular parish First Friday Mass, so there were more than a few parishioners who weren't quite sure what was going on. And because it wasn't the regular Sunday crowd, Communion was a bit chaotic. I was able to serve my family, including my mother who later remarked, "I never expected to receive Communion from one of my daughters!"

I thought I would be a basket case, but there was too much to do. I teared up during the Final Prayer service and I teared up during the opening of the Processional, which was Aaron Copeland's Fanfare for the Common Man. (But I always tear up when I hear it.)

Many people asked me how I was doing. I don't really know. It's been strange to read about registration forms and Emergency Forms all due back before the end of the school year and know that I don't have to worry about it. I wrote a note after my signature in my final Family Envelope, knowing that I won't have to ask for it each Monday afternoon (or Tuesday morning). A big part of me will miss my seasonal routine. Another part of me is kind of excited--I can begin to rediscover my life, my talents and interests. Hubs and I can become a couple again, rather than just "The Parents of ______." (Okay, we've got a couple more years before that happens. But we can start!)

What I'm going to miss most are the other families, the familiar faces I see at the Back to School Coffee, Back to School Night, work next to at Oktoberfest, sit with at school potlucks. I'm going to miss sitting next to them at volleyball and basketball games and finding out about projects and book reports that are due on Monday that my children "forgot" to tell me about. (That was my secret to being the all-knowing Mom my children believed me to be. What I learned sitting on the bleachers at games and on the benches in the breezeway before and after school was invaluable.)

I asked DD#2 if she was ready for high school. Her siblings certainly were. But her experience has been different. Last summer, her 7th Grade Homeroom teacher was killed in a biking accident, while training for his last race in the Nationals. He lingered for a week and she and I checked the Caring Bridge website every day. At his Memorial Service, his students came together in the middle of the summer and shared their memories. This set the tone for the rest of the year.

Mr. C. was mentioned at the Awards Dessert and at Graduation. He was not universally beloved, but he was respected. From the comments made, DD#2 was not his only student who began to understand what he really wanted from her. At the end of last school year, DD#2 made a promise to me and to herself: she was going to show him what she could do.

This year she made an excellent start. Academically, socially, personally, it was her best school year yet. Although she didn't win any of the "big" awards, she was recognized for her ability in art, in poetry, her enthusiasm in Spanish class, her service to the school and the community, her commitment as an Altar Server. She has a group of six close friends and I hope they stay in touch through high school.

DD#2 is the kind of student who drives teachers nuts: lots of potential, but she hasn't realized how smart she truly is, how much leadership ability she has, how much talent. She has a tendency to hide from the world, especially if she is unsure of herself or her place. I blossomed in high school--I hope she will, too.

Today is the family party: a BBQ at a local park (and, of course, it's foggy and cold!). Tonight is a classmate's party. Tomorrow a party for one of the "Seven Musketeers," many of whom are coming to her party this afternoon. Monday is the Academic Counseling appointment at her new high school, the rigorous one in the neighboring school district DS#2 attends. She wants to take Latin and Oral Interpretation (the first year of Public Speaking). We already know that she's going to be challenged by the OI teacher who doesn't accept lateness in any form.

Registration is due for the Youth Ministry--the two-year program for Confirmation.

And the Hare Family will become just another family in the Parish.