We’ve celebrated a LOT of things over the years, but the last day of school Walk of Fame is my most favorite of all. I can hardly believe that we have reached the 10th anniversary of this tradition! It’s not elaborate or expensive, but it makes me happier, prouder and more excited than any of the others and is a small thing to remind the boys of how much we love them and just how proud we are of them.
Just like I’ve done since John finished Kindergarten, I lined the sidewalk with signs touting their accomplishments, both in and out of the classroom, from the past year. The last day of school was actually virtual for both kids this year. Talk about an anticlimactic ending to a rough year! It was so lackluster, in fact, that I completed missed it was the last day and so our Walk of Fame occurred on the first day of summer.
As for the mechanics of it all, I usually have the signs facing the other way so that when they arrive home from bus and carpool they walk through them on their way into the house. Since they were simply rolling out of bed for this year’s walk, I faced them towards the front door and then we ended with a special snack by the pool! We reuse these stakes every year and I print out 10-11 pages for each child on cardstock. Honey uses a mallet to hammer them into the ground the night before and then I staple on the signs just prior to their walk. (On windy days the staple doesn’t really hold it.) I did Whit’s signs on the left and John’s on the right.
Whit was virtual until late October at which time he went back in person. His demeanor dramatically improved, although it was yet another big transition – going from virtual March – October back to the classroom at a new school with seven teachers. I had the opportunity to “listen in” on many of his classes during the first part of the school year and the teachers could not have been kinder, more patient or more loving. I never dreamed he’d start sixth grade sitting in my home office at a desk butted right up to mine! The middle school did their very best with the kids, to keep learning interesting, to help with their strange transition, and to make them feel part of a school family. I know it wasn’t easy on anyone involved, but the year ended so much better than it started and we are excited for seventh grade ahead. I will be forever grateful for every single person at that school and the overtime, energy and attention they gave to their students this year. Whit’s church youth program stayed safely in person for the duration of the year, basketball happened with major adjustments, and baseball never missed a beat. He made some great new friends and is still the sweetest, funniest, most outside the box, extremely disorganized, best cook I know. :-)
High school was a different story. Everyone was virtual from August to November. Once the school reopened, John bounced between in person and virtual essentially every two weeks from November to early February. He never had covid, but was contact multiple times. It was such a struggle that he opted, with our full support, to go virtual for the rest of the school year at that time. High school ended for him just like it started – sitting in front of a screen in his bedroom. He tried out for the Freshman Basketball team after “training” with some buddies all fall and was absolutely thrilled to make it! It was such a positive program and was a true highlight of his Freshman year for our entire family. I will never forget how his coach had them sign a contract that put faith, family, friends and school before sports, how he spent practice time teaching life skills (like how to tie a tie!), and how he walked each and every one of them through the school to find their classes the night before their first day in person. Up until that point he had never stepped foot into the building! This spring he made the JV Lacrosse team and that was also a high point of freshman year. His teen program at church did remarkably well at keeping the kids engaged in a safe way and we were also incredibly thankful for that. I should also say that, in spite of the negatives, I spent more time with my teenager than I ever would have imagined possible a couple of years ago. We had breakfast and lunch together, Honey basically taught him geometry and physics (bless his soul), we collaborated on school projects (the most memorable was recording a recipe in Spanish), and we didn’t argue TOOOOO much. My heart aches thinking about how much I am going to miss him come August. I know he must spread his wings and fly a little further away from our nest, but I’ll be eternally grateful for the gift of time this Freshman year.
“On paper” and in the photos above, you’d think this year was a breeze. The fact that it wasn’t, and that my boys showed strength, determination, kindness, compasion, adaptability and hard work ALL year to end like this brings me to tears. I have learned so much from them and about them this past year, and I was blessed to have more time with them than I’d had since they left for grade school.
As for this summer, we will head off to Disney World in what we’ve dubbed a “land cruise” with my extended family shortly (our actual cruise was cancelled so a land cruise consists of a little theme park time and a lot of swimming, sunning and dining). Both boys will travel with their sports teams (divide and conquer – I got Whit!). Our Montana trip was cancelled AGAIN so we are searching for a new destination. John is enrolled in Spanish III for summer school and Whit should qualify to earn a doctorate in video games, based on how much time I predict he will spend online. Oh, and we all can’t wait to swim in the pool (I know I owe you details)!!
DIXIE DELIGHTS DELIVERED