Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Love This Memory of You

Andrew's always been my cuddle bear. When the boys were born so close together, it was an obvious, expected, and necessitated choice for Steve and I to tag team with them. Because a baby needs his mom, so much of Andrew's first year was spent in my lap, while Steve tended to toddler Philip. Whew. Some of those days were long and rough. I will always be incredibly thankful, though, that we had our babies back to back. It has gifted each of us, all four of us, in so many ways, and it created the fabric of our family.

But, I guess it's normal for a mom to be attached a little more in her heart to her baby. Even if the youngest child were identical to the oldest child, the mom is going to feel the emotion more as she goes through the last of everything. As fun and adventurous as the first of everything is, a woman is wired to be poignant and reminiscent, in my mind, anyway, as she finishes up things. I think, for those reasons, in my heart I have a unique bond with both boys. Philip was my introduction to everything and Andrew was my finale.

And, oh, how I loved elementary school with my boys. I was blessed to be able to be at home with the boys from Philip's birth up until Andrew began 6th grade. Yep. I was at every Christmas and Valentine party that occurred, and went on as many field trips as they would allow. So, Andrew's 5th grade year was my mom swan song - my last chance to do all of the fun things. Having a child simultaneously in 5th and a child in 6th, I knew there was no need for mom at the junior high school campus. And so, determinedly, I dug into 5th grade even more zealously than I imagined I could.

I was incredibly honored to be asked to be the 5th Grade Coordinator at the boys' elementary school, and I adored working with the three teachers Andrew had that last year. To this day, I keep up with his homeroom 5th grade teacher via Facebook and am totally reveling in watching her now raise three little punkin' heads. Meghan was a jewel and she just made the year so glorious for all of the kids. The fact that I had a VIP backstage pass was a bonus.

When we moved from the valley to Plano ISD in 2005, we all got an education. PISD definitely had a certain way that things worked. They had an extensive and interesting 5th grade curriculum. It makes for an amazing year for the kids, full of integrated learning units. We worked through Immigration Day and Colonial Week and Biography Night...and had fun all along the way. And one of the neatest things they do is to have a graduation celebration for each 5th grade class...and a reunion at the elementary school for the 12th grade graduating seniors. 

Because I was the 5th Grade Coordinator, I was up at the school many days and long hours. It was so wonderful to be such an integrated part of Andrew's final year of elementary school, my final year of elementary school. As I type this, I am awaiting Andrew's senior photo shoot pictures to appear in Drop Box. And so, as I looked at photos of my many layouts, and as I prepare to soon watch this baby boy of mine cross the stage, it seems natural to look back at this 2007 milestone and ponder graduation celebrations.

As I consider the 6'2" young man who has a black cap and gown hanging in the guest closet, I am drawn to the memory of this little boy. Andrew was always tender hearted to his classmates. He was the child whose best friend for the first four years of school was the sweet little boy who was so shy he did not speak. Andrew has always been accepting of all and even seeks out those that he feels need a little extra some something. Andrew is very loyal. His friend, pictured with him on the far right, ended up defeating him in the student council race, and Andrew shook it off and kept right on with the friendship.

This little boy heart was as sweet as he was shy. He would sit quietly, listening to it all, taking it all in, processing it...and add a comment when it was least expected, in the moment or days afterward. That little thinking boy scored a 29 on the ACT without cracking a book and can solve a Rubik's Cube in seconds. And he is still mildly shy...but he can and often does bring a room to laughter with a quick-witted retort to any kind of comment.

I love his story. All of it. It has been my pleasure to have a front row seat to every chapter. From his little head nestling against my neck, to his chubby hands bringing me flowers, to his tween body getting ice cream with me, to his tall lumbering frame sharing his comic book heroes with me. I have counted all of it joy. It has been my pleasure. It has been a celebration in my heart to have him in my life. 

In 5 weeks we will have our reunion at Hunt. I didn't go with Philip and he said they all asked about me. Who knew moms could go? And then in 6 weeks, we will have one more graduation ceremony with my Andrew. And I will spend the next 6 weeks smiling at this boy, remembering his story, cherishing all of the chapters, and loving how God has crafted him into the young man that he is. 

We will embrace this coming senior high graduation celebration and we will remember fondly this 5th grade graduation celebration, and we will work even harder to remember all the way back to his kindergarten graduation. And as we dream, we look forward to his someday college graduation. I do love this 5th grade memory of him. And I love all my memories of him.

Graduation Celebration ~ Andrew's 5th Grade Graduation ~ May 2007 

Paper: October Afternoon
Fonts: Comic Sans, Pacifico


  1. Such sweet memories Penny, and another wonderful layout. Is this part of his school album or is this for your books?

  2. Beautiful as always Penny! Thank you for sharing.