Fifth Grade Graduation

Today I went and saw my eleven year old’s fifth grade graduation. He’s finished elementary school and will head off to middle school next fall. They had a nice little ceremony. About a hundred fifth graders were sitting on folding chairs in the middle of the gymnasium while all the parents crowded the bleachers and lined the walls when the bleachers filled up. Our community is all about celebrating children’s accomplishments. There were parents there with balloons and noise makers, ready to holler as loudly as possible when their child’s name was called. I was the only family member there to cheer on my son. I had taken my two little boys with me to the kindergarten graduation in the morning and that had been an exercise in frustration. They were not very interested in sitting quietly on the bench next to me. By the time I got them home, I was thinking Never Again. I knew I still had the afternoon graduation to go to, and so I was very relieved when my highschooler came home at lunchtime after getting released early. I set her up to babysit and went off to the next graduation of the day.

My son won an award from the librarian for being an enthusiastic and voracious reader. He also met his math and reading goals for the year. Yay! I watched my handsome boy, standing happily holding his certificates. A little embarrassed to be the center of attention, but obviously pleased with his accomplishments.

This week has been the week of awards and ceremonies for my children. They have all done well. Some of them shining like stars, their accomplishments impressive. Others did the equally impressive feat of just getting through a school year with the the knowledge that their teachers were pleased with them and happy that they had had them in their classroom.

As I sat there in the bleachers I was overwhelmed with pride in my children. How on earth did I get such amazing kids? I looked around the gymnasium and saw a room full of parents who all seemed to be having the same sentiments. I took a closer look at the other kids, sitting in their folding chairs. My son’s classmates. His friends. His peers. At the beginning of the ceremony, the music teacher had lead all the kids in singing “This is Me” from the Greatest Showman. (If you are not familiar with this song then you are obviously not plugged in to pop culture nor do you have teenagers in your house!) This is apparently a popular graduation song, as the kindergartners sang it also, and the high school dance team did an amazing dance to the same song at the high school graduation. The words are very inspirational..

 

Look out ’cause here I come (look out ’cause here I come)

And I’m marching on to the beat I drum (marching on, marching, marching on)

I’m not scared to be seen

I make no apologies, this is me…”

Another line from the song says, “For we are glorious!”

 

Now, I don’t buy into the philosophy that children are these innocent creatures, mini-gods walking amongst us. I have ten kids. I am very aware that children are just mini-humans. Capable of anger, jealousy, pettiness, and all the other unlikable things. But, in children, it’s like it hasn’t completely taken root yet. There is so much potential. They are still at a place where you can correct their mistakes, direct them down better paths, teach them in hopes that they will avoid some of the big pits that you fell into yourself.

I sat and watched these little 5th graders. Each one an individual in their own right, marching bravely into the future, optimistic and full of energy. I joined the other parents as we clapped and cheered. Those are our kids! We believe in them! We are dedicated to doing everything we can to turn them into happy, productive adults. We are ready to show up and cheer them on, no matter how small the milestone. Yeah, my kids are amazing. And so are yours.

 

 

Fat Fridays: Week 21 In Which I Almost Fell Off the Wagon

Hey Everyone. How’s your week been? This week has been tough for me. I almost completely fell off the diet bandwagon. It started on Saturday. I was feeling very uncreative for supper and so I asked my husband if he would be willing to grill some meat I had and I would cook potatoes and vegetables. My husband is a good cook, but he’s usually too busy and it just makes sense for me to do the cooking. Well, he went all out. He looked up a marinade recipe, cut the pork loin into thin slices, marinated it and then grilled it to tender perfection. It smelled amazing. And then he comes up to me with this perfectly grilled bite size of meat and says, TASTE IT! In light of all the work he’d gone to, it seemed rude and petty to refuse just because I’m trying to be vegan. Sigh. I ate it. It was really, really, really good. Ok. One piece. It’s not going to hurt me. Then we served up the kids and one of my picky children decided they didn’t want their meat, and my, let’s-not-waste-good-food mode kicked in. Fine, give me your meat. That stuff is too good to throw away. So, I ended up eating a whole serving of the stuff. Still. One piece of meat here and there isn’t going to hurt me, right?

The next day was Mother’s Day and I was excited. My oldest daughter said she was going to make me some vegan pancakes with a sugarless blueberry sauce. Then for lunch we were going to go out for Chinese food. I was anticipating a big pile of stir-fried veggies over fluffy rice. So, that morning we were waiting around while my daughter finished making breakfast and the phone rang. It was my parents. Their house was on fire. They were out of the country. Could Andy and I please go and take over the situation? Of course. I grabbed a water bottle and a plate with 2 pancakes and sauce and we ran out the door. I shared the pancakes with my husband in the car as we drove the hour to my parent’s house. The next hours were spent watching firemen, waiting for the flames to go out so we could enter the house and see what we could salvage. Somewhere around 1 pm we were finally able to go in the house. The firemen cautioned that the house could Rekindle and we would need to call them again, so we felt some pressure to get in and out as quickly as we could. The firemen left and we went in. We were able to save some paintings and musical instruments, some knickknacks. A fireman had grabbed an armful of photo albums. I was standing there, just kind of in shock, when Andy ran past me yelling, The roof is on fire again! If there’s anything you want, get it now! There was a glass cabinet that had a lot of my mom’s collectibles she had gathered over a lifetime. I frantically looked around for a box and finally saw an untouched cooler. I grabbed the cooler and started throwing ornaments into it while my husband called the firemen again and then threw water on the flames that had leaped up.

The firemen returned, more hoses, more water, more waiting. By the time they left again I was starting to get hungry. It was now the middle of the afternoon and we hadn’t eaten anything except one pancake in the morning. We hadn’t brought any food and while there were stores not too far away, we weren’t ready to leave the sight. I walked into the kitchen and looked in my mom’s pantry. All of the shelves had been sprayed down by the firemen, the cardboard boxes were soaking wet, but after some digging I found a box of energy bars that were individually wrapped and water proof. We tore into the energy bars which were low-sugar and tasted just a bit funny. My husband grumbled, but I pointed out it was better than nothing. A couple minutes later I was standing outside and my husband came out holding a bag of Pepperidge Farms Milano Cookies. The outside of the package was a bit scorched looking but the package had somehow escaped getting wet. It was not on my diet plan, but at that moment in time, I didn’t care. We tore into the cookies, the sweetness helping to calm raw nerves. Ok. One slip up. Not the end of the world.

The next two days was a flurry of phone calls, picking up my parents from the airport, getting ready for other family members who were coming into town for my son’s high school graduation. I was trying to rescue my parents photos, we already had houseguests…My stress level reached epic levels and cooking became my last priority. Chips and Cookies were laying around the house which is unusual for us. Temptation was everywhere and I was too stressed to care. Then, Tues morning I hit the crisis point. I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet and there was an open package of cookies. I just wanted to eat cookies for breakfast. Not good. I lectured myself. Ok Esther, if you’re determined to cheat, cheat smart. Cheat smart. Ok. I poured myself a bowl of Kix cereal which only has 3 grams of sugar per serving and claims to be made from whole grains. I used rice milk and felt pretty smart. There. Not too bad a cheat. Well, my body thought differently. My blood sugar rose so high that I crashed. My speech started getting slurry and all I could do was crawl into bed and sleep it off. An hour and half later I woke up with a headache and just generally feeling horrible. I had so much stuff to do that day and I felt so stupid for eating food that my body just couldn’t handle. I lay there in the bed and gave myself a lecture. Listen girl. This has nothing to do with weight loss or trying out some fad diet. Your body simply can’t handle refined sugars and carbs. It makes you feel sick and sluggish and you have way too much to do without making yourself sick eating this junk…Ok. Yes. You’re right.

I’m happy to say that since that crash Tues morning, I have gotten back on plan. My meals have been a bit random, but no more cereal or cookies. My son’s graduation party is tonight and I have laid in some on-plan treats so hopefully I won’t be too tempted.

And so, life goes on. Goals: Try and get some walks in and schedule some downtime. I really need some downtime. See you all next week.