Almost Grown Up

Today the graduating seniors came back to their former elementary schools and walked the halls in their caps and gowns to the cheers of the whole school! It is an awesome new tradition that I hope keeps up. At one point a little kindergartner shyly tapped my arm, looking at them in awe. “Are they grown-ups?”

I just smiled and said “Almost.”

I was their former sixth grade teacher. It was almost breathtaking how grown-up and strong they all were, these children, now in their zenith.

It was a very sweet greeting – hugs, smiles, laughter and memories.  Catching up. Who had done Youth Court in high school.  The girl who was involved with Rotary. Congratulating the one who LOVED soccer as a kid and was now going to compete at state.  A first for our school.  Ever.  They wanted to see their old classroom so we took a tour down the hall and luckily the class was gone.  We went in and they sat in their old seats, exclaiming at how small everything seemed.

“This is where the karaoke happened!”

“This is where we flew the airplanes!”

“Hey Ms. B, remember when I kicked this thing, over and and over?  And you got pissssssed?”

“Nooooo…. I never got mad at you!”

Another student piped up, “Do you remember how I always leaned back in my chair and you got pissssed?”

“Nope, didn’t happen.  I never got mad.”

They laughed and one girl added, “And do you remember how pisssssed you got……”

“OKAY, we are done here!”  They cracked up and we walked back down for cookies.  They were teasing me, but I did not fall for the gaffe.

I pulled out pictures.  A scrapbook I had kept from their year.

“Oh!  Spirit week!!”

“That HUGE snowstorm!”

“I wonder what happened to Joe?”

They had a great time reminiscing until the page with pictures from the class play.  One girl looked me dead in the eye, “Shakespeare!  I have to be honest.  I HATED that!”

I was a little stunned.  I remember it as the best thing we did all year.  “What?  Why?”

And this beautiful.  BEAUTIFUL former tomboy said…. “You made me wear a dress.  That blue dress!” And she pointed at the picture of herself in a velvet ball gown.  We all laughed.

After more hugs and promise from me to attend the graduation ceremony they left.  These mature, beautiful people.  All excited and slightly nervous about leaving childhood behind and nervous about what the future holds.  Excited, nervous and almost grown-up.

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(Prompt words: Velvet, zenith, breath-taking, gaffe)

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