As much as the thought horrifies me - the big change, middle school with big and often cruel kids, leaving behind the special and wonderful teachers and friends who have been my daughter's everything for the past several years - I was immensely proud. Isabel has come so much farther than anyone every imagined or predicted and yet, the road is yet long.
And yes, I cried.
I cried because it has been such a long and challenging journey both as her mother and her biggest advocate. Because, while other moms and dads celebrate this same milestone and save for their child's college education, dreaming of the accomplished individuals they hope them to become - our future is so uncertain. And I cried for a hundred other reasons and because it was the only thing to do and I just couldn't help myself.
I was so proud of each and every one of "our kids" - the ones who were moving on, and the ones who were staying behind... Throughout the long-winded assembly of speeches and presentations and sideshows, Bella and her classmates were incredibly patient (an uncommon attribute for our kids). And they each took to the stage like true achievers, smiling and pleased. One fellow graduate from Bell's class even snagged the microphone from his teacher and addressed the audience with a cheerful and moving, "Hey!" A most excellent speech in my humble opinion.
Afterward, we all adjourned to the classroom for a "cook in" and enjoyed one last social with our friends. Superlatives were awarded (none to our surprise, Isabel got "most energetic").
It was bittersweet.
In parting, I left everyone with Thank You notes from Isabel with a picture of her happy, smiling face and enclosed all that I could conjure: my words...
Dear Teachers, Friends, Mentors…I so wish I had gifts to give to everyone, a token of thanks and remembrance, for all that you have given, contributed, and shared in my daughter’s life these last few years. But then there is nothing I could possibly give to each of you that would adequately express my gratitude for the love and care you have shown Isabel.You have each played a magnificent and unique role in the world of a special little girl – an ever mischievous, often stubborn, frequently happy, and most always content little person whose quality of life is defined in the moment by her surroundings. –You have shared her life as her friends, companions, role models, and teachers, celebrating her accomplishments and victories, however small, with patience and acceptance. You have laughed together and played together; grown and learned together… You have supported and protected one another. Not merely because it is your job or because you are a fellow student; it is who you are individually.I cannot begin to tell you, even from a distance, what you mean to me simply because you have each been someone important, someone special to Isabel. You have been Isabel’s world. And for that, I cannot begin to thank you enough.