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Personal Adds: Nostalgic about the lasts we’re experiencing

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Personal Adds: Nostalgic about the lasts were experiencing





As parents, so often we focus on firsts first word, first step, first day of school, first soccer game.


But this year, as my younger son finishes elementary school, I find myself surprisingly nostalgic about the lasts we're experiencing as a family.


The end of elementary school.


The end of Cub Scouts.


The end of innocence as he plunges into the world of middle school, where forgetting to turn in a paper brings a zero rather than a scolding.


He seems too young.


Back when I was a kid, we had one more year wrapped in the security of elementary school before we went to junior high for seventh and eighth grades.


I'm sure middle school builds character, but as a parent, I wish I could fast forward my kids through these awkward years.


Mastering lockers, switching classes, homework that's harder to help with and kids facing their own insecurities and peer pressure who are just plain mean, lashing out at anyone they deem weaker.


It seems like only yesterday that Brodie was a wide-eyed 3-year-old, watching his brother's elementary school basketball games, asking when he could play, too.


A year later, he was tagging along to Cub Scouts, attending camp outs, den and pack meetings, nearly keeping up with the big boys each step of the way.


Soon he was in school and Cub Scouts, too.


Elementary school wasn't a piece of cake. He'll still tell you that his favorite part is recess.


Math came naturally. Reading was a struggle.


A few years ago, he told me he wanted a job when he grows up that doesn't require reading or writing.


Oh, he's always loved books as long as someone else was reading.


It wasn't until this year, in fifth grade, that he ever picked up a book to read (and I mean read, not just look at the pictures) without being told.


I almost cried.


At Pilot Elementary, he's been blessed with awesome, caring teachers. One, Polly Westfall, "looped" with the class teaching the same group both second and third grade. Her ability to nurture his strengths and help us tackle his attention deficit challenges made a potentially difficult period much easier to bear.


I will miss running into her and other teachers in the hallway, always smiling, asking how Brodie is doing.


The school itself was built the same year Brodie was born. In the field behind the school, Brodie rode his bike without training wheels for the first time.


As our minivan lines up amid the others these final months, fond memories wash over me: school plays; the musical where he focused more on the girl's pig tails in front of him than the director; climbing higher than the other kids on the playground; basketball games; parent-teacher conferences; skate nights; a kiss on the cheek as I drop him off.


Now, we kiss elementary school goodbye.


I wish I could protect him from the inevitable pain he will endure on the road to adulthood, but I eagerly watch as a strong, sensitive young man begins to emerge.


A young man with a lifetime of firsts still ahead of him.



When she's not juggling the activities of two pre-teen boys, a husband, two dogs and herself, Cindy Loman juggles team building, leadership and diversity training at the News & Record.

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