Sunday, June 2, 2013


For Christmas, my mother gave me this ten year journal, which quickly became a most favorite gift.  (Read the amazon description to get a better sense of the journal).  Every day, I'm given just 4 short lines to provide a snapshot of what has been.  Then, there's one page per month of tiny boxes that contain enough space for a single word (or number) per day.  At first, I used the boxes to assign myself a grade for the day, but that was stressful.  Then, I started to wonder - am I really the optimist I proclaim myself to be?  I decided that I would use the tiny box to record the one word that best summarizes the whole day:  "good"; "great"; "outstanding"; "okay"; "awful"; "sad", etc.  At the end of May, I'd logged an impressive 26/31 days of good-to-great days.

The end of May included the following good-to-greats:

Field Trips - I felt especially lucky this year to be included on both Aidan and Leo's field trips.  Leo's trip was to the zoo, and the instructions to parents were clear:  no siblings allowed!  I had no idea that Leo was even more excited about a "Mom-only" trip than I was, but his beloved teacher made it clear that Leo had talked of little else in the week that preceded the trip: "My mom is coming on the field trip, but PAX ISN'T."  "Did you know that my mom is coming to the zoo, but PAX IS NOT ALLOWED?"  "My mom is coming on our field trip BUT SHE ISN'T BRINGING PAX."

It was an awesome day with his sweet, sweet classmates and friends.  Seeing so many familiar faces of parents chaperoning the trip, I felt deeply grateful, all over again, for this loving and kind community of people among whom we're raising our family.   

Emboldened by not having to wrangle Pax all day long, I even mustered the courage to try to "catch" one of these birdies on a food stick for Leo.  They were (mercifully) well-fed, though, and never actually landed on my stick.  I think Leo was as secretly relieved as I was that none of them took our bait.  It seems we both harbor a deep-seated feeling of orinthophobia. 
I was extra-lucky to attend Aidan's field trip this year, because only one parent was allowed to chaperone per class.  With the help of several key folks, all of the 3rd grade classes at his school received a grant to visit Monticello, free of charge.  Everyone was thrilled with this opportunity, made only sweeter by the fact that the tour guide assigned to Aidan's class was none other than.... his grandma!!  My mom did a fabulous job on leading the Roundabout tour for the class, and I was so proud of the kids for their kind and respectful behavior toward everyone  - and everything - on the tour.  To top it all off, we celebrated Aidan's birthday with Snickerdoodle cookies and juice boxes and a rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday."
The always-impressive Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson
A footrace on a most gorgeous end-of-May day

Aidan entered his LAST YEAR of single-digit living on May 28 when we celebrated his 9th birthday.  Here he is, holding up all but one pinkie.... (I love this pic because of the Little Brother Embrace--) 
Happy 9th Birthday, Aidan!

...and I love this pic of him, riding his new bike (with youngest brother in hot pursuit) because of the bow affixed to his helmet.  He did that himself, and hasn't removed it since. 

The whirlwind week ended with the last day of school, which was, as usual, a bittersweet event.  The boys have been so lucky in the teachers they've had, and this year was no exception.  Although they were thrilled with the prospect of "sleeping in" (we've yet to make it past 6:23 a.m.), they were both quite sad to bid farewell to beloved teachers and kind classmates.

Up-and-coming 4th and 1st graders!

Happy Birthday celebration!
Aidan chose to celebrate his birthday with a "favorite things" roundup.  He invited his favorite buddy to join us for roller skating, pizza dinner, ice cream sundaes, a movie, and a sleepover. What a blast!!  We pretty much had the entire roller rink to ourselves, and the boys practiced perfecting their skills on wheels.  I taught Aidan some tricks of mine, and was happy that the family (plus one) voted me the #1 skater at the end of the skate session.  Dinner was delicious, and the sundaes were divine.

The month of May included many other sweet moments, including this fierce little two wheeling three year old in his bionic, 3-D glasses:

 Can you believe this pic?  The background of this photo is blurry because he is speeding along that fast.  He is a daredevil in green! (his favorite color, by the way)
Leo decided to work on his read-aloud and fluency skills by reading one of his faves to Pax, who was a most willing audience.  (I'll never grow tired of these read-aloud pics). 
Go Away, Big Green Monster! (Ed Emberly)
Perhaps the most poignant and memorable moment for me, however, in this end-of-year bustle came as I was unpacking the various notebooks, folders, pencil boxes, and crayon cases that were sent home on the last day. In each boys' box, I found the following notes: 

I wrote them on the first day of school. I found them again on the last day of school.  Each boy had tucked away my note in a careful yet accessible spot where, presumably, they read the notes weekly or perhaps even daily.

And here I was, thinking they'd discarded them without a second glance..... 

**Addendum: (6/3/13)  I've been thinking about these notes, these little discovered treasures over the past few days.  On Saturday, I attended the high school graduation of 5 of my youth group kids.  Watching all of these 18-year-olds on the cusp of adulthood, I noticed the same exchange occurring over and over again: the seniors, upon reaching their seats, scanned the crowd until their eyes settled on those whom they were seeking:  Mom.  Dad.  Time and time again, the look of peace and relief and reassurance that overcame each graduate's face as they made that connection to Mom or Dad was so moving.  Watching the seniors, I was reminded of these little notes, secreted away for the whole school year, presumably offering peace, relief, and reassurance during the long school day.

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