Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Milestone for KJ...and for Mom

KJ graduated from grade 8 on Thursday or rather I should say she graduated to highschool. Entering Highschool and enjoying the freedom and Independence it promises has been a driving force for KJ especially during those arduous math classes.

In preparation for Graduation (here on referred to as "the Event") KJ and I skipped off school and work last Friday for a day at the mall. Did I say mall, as in singular? I misspoke. I should have said 'every single retail establishment within 100 km of our home!' We searched for a dress, found a dress then searched every other location for said dress in the correct size, settled for a very beautiful dress, ate lunch (do mall fries count as lunch?) searched for shoes, searched for shoes, and searched for shoes, we found shoes, we thanked the nice lady for ringing us through after the store closing. We arrived home just before 10pm where the rest of life was waiting to be cared for. I was proud that I had survived 12 hours of shopping without a single tantrum! (KJ was pleased too, those moments are so embarrassing for her.)

Event shopping complete, KJ packed her bags and was off to Ottawa for 3 days for some year end celebration and relaxing with her classmates. Those poor teachers returned visibly exhausted! That made "the Event," on the day following their return, easy I would imagine. A little fuel to get these kids out of their hair for good!

KJ with big sis Lula and Little Bro E-man
Event day arrived and KJ had the entire afternoon to prepare. She painted her nails and arranged for her cousin to pop by to curl up her hair. She was beautiful and ready on time (strange for a kid who is perpetually late for everything) I finished pressing her dress and helped her with her final details, then she was off to to school with her BFF. Giving me time to get ready myself.

Before she left she leaned in close to me and said "Promise you won't cry." she remembers Lula's Event, at which I was crying. KJ is not big on public displays of emotion, so I promised. I wasn't sure how I was going to manage it... but it was important to her, so I promised.

I did really well. I watched with dry eyes as the kids entered to gymnasium. Although when the procession music started our entire row looked directly at me and I heard Lula inquire "Is she crying yet?"  I listened with dry eyes as various teachers gave speeches on the accomplishments of the graduating class and the promise of their exciting futures. A sideways glance from Mike every once in a while to check on my progress. I was surprising everyone, mostly myself actually!

KJ & Dad
Then they started recognising students for special achievements. They began calling to the stage, the 10 students being honored with the Citizenship Award and there was my KJ's name! I looked at Mike (which I shouldn't have done.) his eyes reflected what I felt in my heart...Tremendous pride! I choked a little there but I quickly regained my composure. Reminding myself that if my daughter can demonstrate excellence in upholding the four pillars of Citizenship; Respect, Leadership, Academics and Teamwork, I could find the strength to suppress my emotions as requested. I did it! It was not easy, that was a curve ball neither one of us knew was coming!

I held it together while she crossed the stage later in the ceremony to collect her diploma and I held it together through the video highlight montage. I successfully exited the gymnasium with my kleenex still tucked carefully, accessibly and dry in my pocket.

Outside we located KJ and I hugged her, congratulated her and told her how proud I am. I did it all and a tear never escaped my eye!

We left her at the school for her dance as we returned home, a heart filled with pride and a head filled with the intense inter cranial pressure of uncried tears.

So I did well, better than I imagined actually. I've managed to write this entire post with only 1 box of tissues!

Mom & Dad with the Graduate!

Spend some moment everyday in reflection of gratitude and happiness. Even if the time found is standing in line for coffee...use is wisely.


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