Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pomp & Circumstance

Have I mentioned they do things differently in the South?  One of those things is Kindergarten graduation.  A month ago I got an email asking me to come to a meeting about the end of the year.  I went, and I couldn't believe my ears.  They were forming a committee for Kindergarten Graduation.  They needed people to head up decorations, caps and gowns, gifts, autograph signing, and a slide show presentation... I was overwhelmed.  It's a far cry from what we experienced when Ben left Kindergarten...a presentation in his classroom of a few hastily learned songs and a hug from his teacher.

I signed up to help with decorations.  They were going for an "Oh the Places You'll Go," theme and all I kept thinking was, "first grade, they're going to the first grade".  I didn't realize that by volunteering I'd be giving up three entire mornings of last week.  We were handed a schematic drawing of what the teachers wanted it to look like and given free reign of the large rolls of paper in the teacher's lounge.  They wanted truffula trees and balloon arches, in short, a whole magical Seuss village made out of paper.  I'm not sure if they were satisfied with the end result, but this is the first year they turned it over to the parents instead of doing it themselves...You get what you pay for.

We nixed the balloon arch as soon as we found out the decorations would have to stay intact over Memorial Day weekend.  I suggested a pennant banner and so my contribution was 1/2 hour of sewing triangles together.  Shh, they all thought it took so much longer..I didn't have the heart to tell anyone I didn't spend very much time. (One sweet, sweet mom asked me how I got all the little holes in the paper)  They added the words "class of 2014", but shouldn't it really be "class of 2026"?  I'm still not wrapping my head around the need for so much fluff just for kindergarten.

 There were 5th grade ushers and printed programs.

 Alan was the only one wearing a tie.  Some really dedicated parents ironed all the gowns.  They wouldn't let us take them home for fear someone would forget to wear theirs. (Did I mention they cost everyone $25?  They use different colors every year so there is no way to rent one from last year's kids. But I couldn't be the one parent who refuses to buy one on principle.  Everyone kept telling me, "it's a beautiful keepsake." Nope, not buying it.  I think the rental fee for my college graduation was cheaper.  All I can say is that for $25 I will make sure Sadie's year wears white too.)

Singing Seuss songs...

Alan, ready to receive his diploma.

They read his name, Alan Garcia...I tried to get them to change it to Marturello, but the birth certificates haven't come yet and they were being picky.  Mrs. Davis presented the "diplomas".  She holds the paper in her elbow because she's missing her left hand.

 Success!!  On to the first grade. There were cow bells and hollering.  Flowers, balloons, leis, etc.  I guess Kindergarten is a big deal down here. I had no idea.  For poor Alan it was business as usual.  I'm curious to know what High School graduation looks like.

Lucky Alan got TWO teachers. Mr. Godwin and Mrs. Kidd.   Mr. Godwin happens to be LDS.  He pulled me aside as soon as Alan mentioned he'd moved from Utah and asked if we were members of the LDS church.  A little tender mercy to have him looking after A-man.

A favorite reading teacher.

Alan's autograph bear.  I actually really liked this idea!

Some funny things I pulled from Alan's desk on his last day.  A volunteer luncheon invitation addressed to me that happened a few weeks ago.  An award from said luncheon that I apparently earned, his end of year journal that says, "people would describe me as 'friend'", an Alabama Standard Go Math Work Book that literally HAS NOT BEEN WRITTEN IN AT ALL, and two behavior reports, ironically one from October and one from last week. October's says, "Very active, doing cartwheels on carpet", and May's says, "lot's of playing, not listening".

He's nothing if not consistent.  At least he can read, right?!!  Oh how we love him.  His teacher shed a few tears.  I didn't, I didn't with Ben either.  It's on to the real stuff now.  I LOVE first grade and I hope it proves to be just as good for Alan as it was for Ben.

When I asked Alan if he'd had a good morning he said, "yes, mom, can I take my tie off now?"  Before I could answer he'd flung it over his shoulder and was careening down the hallway.  The same hallway he's been told not to run in every day for the last 9 months.


  1. WOW! What a production. We had a graduation here too for Sam, weird. There were more parents at the graduation than at the registration night for the eighth and ninth graders at the Junior High the other night. I just kept thinking if our kids had that much support I saw today throughout their schooling, how much better our kids would do in school. But it is what it is. :)

    1. YES!! Why do they all turn out for the graduation, but not the parent teacher conferences?

  2. Would you believe I missed Louisa's graduation entirely! Somehow I missed that email that they'd be doing a ceremony on the last day. I picked her up at the usual time only to be met with a crowd of parents all dressed up and carrying balloons and flowers. Guess who gets the looser mother of the year award. I felt just awful. Thank goodness Louisa seemed undamaged. She said one of the teachers held her balloon as she walked across the bridge to get her diploma. I immediately piled the kids into the car and took them for Slurpee's. I had to do something to make myself feel better.

    Oh why do they put on a show to celebrate mediocrity? I'll tell you why--it's to make the slacker parents feel even more lousy when we don't show up! I promise I'll be there for her high school graduation though!

    1. Oh Sarah!! Here's the way I see it. Showing up to a Kindergarten graduation with balloons does not a stellar parent make. If all those kids had parents reading chapter books to them and taking them on weekly hikes during the summer and knitting sweet sweaters for them that they get to pick out the buttons for, etc, etc, THEN you might have something to feel badly about, but I guarantee you're the only one doing that with sweet Louisa which is why she was unfazed by your not being there. You're there for her in such better ways...Hooray for Slurpee's, the Gorilla Glue of parental mistakes. I know I've done the 7-Eleven walk of shame more times than I can count. SEE YOU SOON!