This is the time of year for endings, with a fallow summer sitting between the late-spring endings and brisk fall beginnings. There’s always that last-week-of-school rush of concerts, inconsistent schedules, no child care and backpacks overflowing with items which somehow migrated from home to class room over the course of the year.
On Tuesday I found myself in the South School gym looking at risers full of fourth-graders, for my last time as a South School parent. In Stoneham, for good but complicated reasons, kids leave elementary school for middle school after they complete 4th grade. Thane has completed that grade and therefore (and this seems impossible) is headed to middle school next year. We’ve had a kid in South School for the better part of a decade. And just like that, it’s a chapter that is concluding.
It gives you pause, like a birthday, to see your beloved child from a bit of a distance. He stood tall and handsome on the risers. He sang with enthusiasm, alacrity and skill. (I’ve been incredibly impressed by the progress the grade school concerts have made in terms of quality over the years I’ve been attending them.) He made an announcement clearly and confidently. He expressed his fond desire to be a scientist when he grows up.
I was a little surprised that the wasn’t more specific: he would like to be a cosmologist living in Switzerland. He’s currently studying German in order to prepare for this future, and prefers to hold all conversations in German regardless of the language facility of the person to whom he is speaking. Cosmology is also very specific, he’s not really that interested in astrophysics. When I asked why his goal wasn’t a Nobel prize (given the number of future professional athletes on the podium – awesomely including some girls who want to play in the World Cup – this didn’t seem too outrageous). But in response he rolled his eyes and told me that there was no Nobel Prize in Cosmology MOM. (No one tell him about these guys.)
We all enjoy the more laid-backness of the summer. Thane will be spending 2 weeks at Camp Wilmot, 2 weeks with his parents to himself (no bad thing), and a week with his grandparents at Camp Gramp. We’ll also be heading to Greece – this makes for a busy summer. But he heads to 5th grade in the big school with his feet firmly under him, in command of himself and his fate. And I’m crazy proud of him.
So, farewell to the South School gym, and the many times I’ve hung out with this crew to watch our children grow together!