All week they've been cleaning out lockers. He came home with only a backpack full just like any old night. The rest, he admitted, he just dumped right then and there. Binders, workbooks, folders and all. At first, I was wide jawed, and then a little grateful. I always feel the need to look through the mass of materials, and then I hem and haw over what to keep and what to toss. He made the decision for me so now I won't have to move the piles from one counter to another corner until it ends up in the trash anyway. He's just lucky he brought home his art folder because those are always keepers. We won't miss the almost complete Spanish workbook, the science binder or math notebook. At least that's what I'm telling myself.
Lily spent a good part of yesterday's school day at the middle school getting acclimated to what will be her stomping ground too come September. She took a tour, learned how to work the lockers and order lunch with the help of her almost 8th grade buddy. She's mostly excited just like me, yet I got a little sense of what the tween stage will be like with her. She spent more time worrying about her outfit than usual trying to strike the perfect balance between cute (but not too cute) and cool (hip) and comfortable. T. Bone still doesn't care about clothes, and usually just throws on whatever he grabs first. I am getting a strong sense of how this new chapter will be different for my girl child than it was for my boy. How it will be different for me too.
Tomorrow is their last day of fourth and seventh grades. Just typing that fills me with a well of conflicting emotions: pride, relief, fear and happiness among them. Sadness too. I'm proud of the dedicated, hard working students they are. I'm relieved for a break from the routine for all of us, and also scared that I will exhaust myself trying to engage them in the stretches of free time that define summer. I'm happy for them...they are growing up beautifully...grounded by strong roots. I'm sad for me...they are growing away...spreading their wings.