Well, actually it started a bit ....uhhh....hurried ?!
Like, i shooed Ruby out the door as the bus was waiting for her with her flip flops on her feet and her socks in her hands and no backpack. I may or may not have been scolding her about "dilly dallying" as she walked down the driveway.
But i knew it would pick up. I just had to get to 9:35.
Ya see, at 9:35, the East Bethel Community School was having its last assembly for the year and i had been invited--personally--by the teacher. Because my girl was being awarded the "Eagle Pride" award.
They receive a teeshirt and an honor in front of the whole school for being respectful, kind, caring, and good. Its their way to recognize that good behavior. Only three kids get picked, a year, in the class. So as you can imagine, we are very proud.
Let me tell you, Ruby was awarded this award in 1st grade as well. Its a surprise to the kids, until their name is called, they don't know who will be the "Soaring Eagle". And lets just say Ruby isn't one for surprises, okay? She never once cracked a smile and you would think she was receiving an award for the most under enthusiastic child at the school.
So when I was emailed about her nomination for the Eagle Pride shirt this year....i wasn't sure how she'd react. I was kind of nervous. Very excited. And overwhelmingly proud.
Jeromy wasn't able to go this year, due to work, but my Mom met me there--so we represented as best we could.
The teacher saved a seat for us, and Ruby saw us as we entered. She's wasn't overly happy. I'll say that. But she did wave and acknowledge us. So, that was good.
I swear i started to sweat just walking into the gym. I don't know if it was excitement, nerves or what. But i DO love me a good assembly. And EBCC is never one to disappoints!!
They showed a slide show--with music and pictures, acknowledged the honor rolls, and talked about the year coming to a close.
I felt a bit verklempted....
Like, i had to think about something else or i felt like i was going to lose it.
I don't even know why.
I guess because i DO love that darn school. Its not perfect. But i don't care. There's just something about all those little bodies sitting together that feels so special that it tears at my heart strings.
When they finally got to the awards, i stood up and got my camera ready. Hoping not to see a bear on the other end of it this year.
I tried to smile and meet Ruby's eyes, i raised my eyebrows alot---thinking that would do the trick. Like "Yea!! You did it, its gonna be fun. You're gonna be fine. And i love you."
I think she got the message...
"2nd grade" they called out. "Mrs. Lundbergs class", they said---"Ruby Boone", she read. ( Its the name i 've always known I'd hear over a loud speaker someday... "Annnnd Ruby Boone hits another homerun out of the park, leading the Lady Yankees to another World Series Championship!!!")
My girl got up. And she headed to the front.
And my heart leapt with pride.
That's alot of people to stand in front of. Your peers. Yours teachers. Your friends.
She went right up there and accepted her teeshirt, with the other students.
And something inside me was hurting, deep -deep- inside i felt a sob rising up. My little girl was growing up. And i was so proud of her. And so thankful that the school was honoring her and bringing so much joy to both hers, and my day.
Alright, so she wasn't all smiles. But she was happy. I knew that.
Next, they do a really cool thing. Its the thing that always makes me feel like bawling. Like breaking down like a little baby and crying tears of joy as i see my kid walk through the row of teachers as they high five and congratulate the kids. Its a beautiful thing to watch. Heartwrenchingly beautiful. All this while playing Aretha Franklins "RESPECT" over the loud speakers.
We all clap to a beat as kids walk through the line. My dear friend--a teacher there--always give my girl special attention when she gets to her--and it just makes me feel like a weepy mess.
This is Ruby's "Ugh, Mo-oom" look. Which just makes me want to kiss those widdle cheekers and love and squeeze her forever. (Oh, she loves it. She tries to pretend that she doesn't.......but she does.)
Next the music teacher sits all the 5th graders down and then has the K-4th graders stand up and face them and they sing this ominous song about letting the wind always be at your back and all this beautiful and gut wrenching stuff. I mean, i don't even KNOW any fifth graders and i felt overwhelmed at this beautiful sendoff. Like i wanted to cry, wail, lament, and hold my fist to the sky and moan "Noooooo! They're not ready....one more year....Don't goooo!"
Again, i had to concentrate on baseball and dishes and lame things like that--so as not to lose my steely composure.
Why was it so touching?! Ugh.
Lastly, one of my favorite things. So much a favorite that i was all caught up in it and didn't take any pictures. Honestly, sometimes I feel like a 1st grader, myself, as i watch with awe at what is going to happen next and clap with the others and laugh, and sigh, and get excited as the teachers begin to dance.
Like, really excited.
The teachers get some funny hats and things on and stand in two lines as the electric slide starts to plays over the speakers (you have my attention teachers)....and electric slid they did...Then the record screeches and on comes the macarena (oh, yea!)....and macarena they do....next a screech and on comes 'Cotton eyed Joe' (loooovin this)...and they dance, and one teacher flips....(which leaves me no choice but to "ohh and ahhh" as my clap picks up speed)....screetch.... (i was all what? What is going to be next? Ooooh, I just can't wait!!) and can ya even guess what came next?
No, you won't...
...YOU just WON'T!!....
The music rips into that famous beat that we all love so much, the teachers pump it up a notch as we hear the familiar beginning of Gongham style and i errupt into whooting and hollering and feel teary all at the same time. I clap to the beat and stand up!!! Whooo, whoooooo.....
How cool is that?
That song triggered me to look through the audience for Easton and Drew (a 2nd and kindergartner)--who ride Ruby and Laney's bus--who look out the window every morning and do the gongham style moves to me and well, i always do them back. As the bus rolls away from our bus stop every morning i have my arms crossed over each other and my legs are a hoppin' as i'm all "Whoop 'em gongham style!" until the bus rolls out of view.
Which i enjoyed....until Ruby got wind of it....
Which then triggers my brain to look to Ruby--who after having found out i do this with Easton and Drew-- basically threatened my life if i "ever do gongham style again!!" (So i can't do it now...but its really hard not to. Sometimes i just quick cross my wrist and wink at the boys. Hoping Ruby doesn't see me ..)
But i digress....back to the teachers.
They are dancing and i am happy and its a touching moment.
My girl. My little first born. My angel who is homemade, by me, grown in my belly--is in 2nd grade and she has a little life outside of our house--outside of my wing.
Its beautiful, the things they learn in school. The life experiences they face. Some not always grand, but shaping her, none-the-less.
I'm torn because of my pull to homeschool. This school, even with its bumps and bruises, its kind of a special place. A place that i always feel happy in. A place that i spend just about every day at. A place that has brought me joy.
Today was amazing.
A feeling of unity and acceptance, love and respect--as we all sit and clapped together-- is something i love.
I truly love it.
Those kids are so special. Those teachers are so great. I guess i can't really put the words together to match the feelings that i had today.
But lest just say--it felt good.
With so much bad. So much hurting. So much pain. So much sorrow. So much disaster. So much anger in the world.
It was truly beautiful to witness the pure joy of a school--together in unity--today in East Bethel.
What a day.
(look at her. Couldn't ya just eat her up)
(Its about RESPECT, check it out, check it out....)
(I love that face.....not mine, but definitely hers! :) (oops, just spelt that darn word wrong ...AGAIN!)
(Ruby loves her Grandma!)
(And the wonderful Mrs. Lundberg. I sure am going to miss that face next year.)
Thank you East Bethel Community School for the beautiful, beautiful day.