I think I should award one of these to myself as my children’s school year draws to a close. I don’t think a blue ribbon is in order exactly. Too many mistakes were made. Too much yelling I regretted the minute I let it explode out of my mouth. Not enough pictures taken. So few, in fact, I am kind of appalled. Late for nursery school every single morning but three or four the whole year. I know, I know, I hear you reassuring me, it doesn’t really matter if you’re on time for nursery school. But still, you’d think I’d get the morning routine down after say, 200 days of doing it?
Since I have long since given up the idea of doing things perfectly, I think it’s fitting (necessary, even), to give recognition for a job done the very best that you could. Where you learned as you went, made the same mistakes twice, three times even, but wake up (at 5:30 am, no less), and try again. Though it would be a stretch to call myself a morning person, I am surprised to find that after another school year of getting up so early, it has gotten easier. Honestly, for a long time there, every morning when my alarm went off at a time with a five handle, my very soul would beg for mercy. But we’re coming along nicely, me and my soul that like to sleep to a more humane hour. For that alone, I’d say an emerald green ribbon is in order. The fact that I have also managed to be a mostly nice person for my children to wake up to in the morning is the clincher. Oh and the feeding them, clothing them, driving them, making everything in their lives possible, blah blah blah.
The school year will end in a flurry of activity in the next two weeks and we will most likely glide quietly, happily, into balmy summer. This is what happens every year. I always mean to take a moment to pause and reflect on the year, but somehow crawl across the finish line of the school year instead. We who are raising children measure our lives in school years. Just think of all that life that happens between September and June! This year I’m going to order ribbons and award the following:
To James, an orange ribbon. One, because it’s his favorite color, but more importantly, for learning to wear underwear, for loving nursery school, for pressing on and insisting on trying to keep up with his big brothers despite the fact that we can’t help but call him “the baby”. Because despite his insistence on how big he is, he keeps all of us honest with his three-year-old way of seeing everything as new and possible. Not to mention he is just plain squeezable and delicious.
Ben will get the gold ribbon. He is a gem of a kid. Because he is harder on himself than we would ever dream of being, he gets the gold for believing us when we tell him to ease up, that there are more important things than how you did on your math test. He has taken on the job of putting James to bed a few nights a week. He gets a ribbon for how my heart swells when I overhear him whispering kindly to his three-year old brother, “Here, let me fix your blanket for you”. And because he asks big poetic questions at bedtime like, “What’s stronger: the thing that can’t be broken by anything or the thing that can break everything?”
Thomas is the one who’s been on this road with us the longest. Though I hate to admit it, we for sure make the most mistakes with him. Every stage we enter with him is a place we’ve never been. Thomas will get a teal ribbon for enduring this and for his even, easy-going nature. We keep making mistakes as we’re figuring things out and he keeps being just fine. Phew. When his dad and I are feeling our most lost in how to support him and we wring our hands with worry about how this will all turn out, we have taken to repeating this mantra: he’s such a good kid he’s such a good kid he’s such a good kid. Because he is. Kind, decent, naturally friendly. He also deserves recognition for stoically tending the goal in lacrosse for his first season ever, (I personally think that takes a special kind of person), and for his first major crush who broke up with him a few short weeks later. When she broke up with him, he said simply, “I understand”. He took it like he takes all those impossibly hard rubber balls being pelted at him all spring. Gracefully.
Ribbons found here.