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Friday, August 12, 2022

one chapter ends, another one begins

i knew it was coming, but still...when the bean's last day of school came, i was a little verklempt.

because i mean...it seems like no time at all had passed between this:

and this.

the last day at school really just had the kids come in for the very last awards ceremony before heading back home to get ready for that evening's graduation festivities.  still, i was happy to sit in the gym and cheer loudly for the bean when they received their very last principal's list award.

i had to.  you know this.

and then outside, a couple more required pictures.

back home, i got the steamer out to get the gown ready and attached all of the bean's pins to the sash.

and then it was time to head back to campus so that our graduate could join the rest of the class for the pre-ceremony pictures and get all of their giggles and jitters out.  seeing them all dressed up in all the graduation gear and taking one final picture in front of the school's backdrop had me all emotional again.

oh, and just for fun...

once we got inside, it was a mad scramble to find the best seats possible.  i still think that it would have been a nice touch to set aside a section for the families of the valedictorians - especially since each student only had a certain number of tickets - but it's okay.  we managed to snag good spots.  and it was fun to watch the slideshow on the giant screens that displayed each student's graduation portrait with their full name and what high school they were going on to.

i'm going to miss this lady so much.  of course, we'll keep in touch, but we've been together since the TK days, serving as room parents every year until junior high, when such a role was no longer necessary.  she's been a second mom to the bean, watching out for us through all five seasons with one dream and taking care of the bean at every competition.  

it was so fun to watch the bean walk in for the ceremony, in their own special way.  that "humility" award definitely came to mind.  heh.  although behind that smile and swagger, i knew they were anxious about the speech they were about to deliver.  i knew it would be awesome, but speaking in front of a crowd is always a little nerve-racking.

and like the valedictorian announcements, they were the last of the seven speakers to take the podium.  and just as i predicted, they nailed it.  we were so proud of not only the actual content of the speech itself, but of how perfectly they delivered it.  we'd suggested that they keep the speech true to themselves - a little dry humor with a dash of sentimentality, plus acknowledgment of the school and faculty and their peers.  the only adjustment that we'd had to make was to pull the confetti cannon sneak attack out, because the uvalde school shootings had just happened a couple of days prior and the loud noise inside the crowded gym was definitely not a good idea.  instead, we picked up an alternative confetti popper that didn't make any noise at all while still making an impact.  i knew that trying to pull that off, hiding the popper under their gown and getting it out at the right time was even more stressful than the speech itself, and the relief on their face when it was all done was completely obvious - at least, to me.

the vice principal had had to step in for the ceremony because the school superintendent had unfortunately tested positive for covid and had to stay home.  she was the one who got to hand the students their diplomas, which was a major bummer because - well, let's just say that she is far from my favorite member of school staff.  and so the bean and i were both kind of annoyed that she would be in the pictures we took of the bean accepting her diploma - but i should have known that my child would plan ahead.  when i watch the video of this, you can see that vice principal's disapproval as she steps away and shakes her head at the bean's antics.  whatever.  we got some photos of our kid onstage without her ass by her side.

when it was all over, we headed outside to meet up with the bean after they turned in their graduation gown.  and of course, it was picture time with all of their friends, plus a few with us.

the graduates were piling into these hummer limos to enjoy their last few moments together as a class, on their way to the country club for the afterparty thrown by their families.

it was an evening of dancing and celebrating, and a few teachers even showed up later to say a final farewell and get their groove on with the kids.  there was a lot of laughter, but also a lot of tears as it sank in for them all that this would be the last time they were all together as a group.  amazingly, every single member of the class had come for the party and so it truly was a wonderful time spent together.

not only was it a party for the kids, but for their parents too.  after all, we'd all been through the trenches together.  i'm absolutely going to miss a lot of these people after spending ten years together.

some of the kids weren't exactly thrilled to have their parents joining them on the dance floor...mine included.

and then it was time for a few last photos, hugs and tears.

some of their classmates have already had their first day of high school, although the bean's school doesn't start for a couple more weeks.  and so we're just trying to enjoy the last few bit of summer while we can, because once school starts life will be crazy busy again.

better hold on, because it's going to be one hell of a ride.

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