Thursday, June 6, 2013

Framing Hudson's Elementary Years

Dear Hudson,

Sitting in the folding auditorium chairs at Tanglewood last Fri morning, I got a little choked up watching the 5th grade parents file into the room. We gathered for the awards ceremony, one of the “lasts” of your elementary school events. And now today, this afternoon, was the last day I’ll ever pick you up at 3:00 from Tanglewood. Tomorrow morning, you will walk across the stage at “big McLean” and give a short speech at your 5th grade promotion. How in the world are we here? Truly, the memory books and slide shows that point back to your first day of kindergarten and the Peacemaker Play remind me that we were just there.

I’m proud of you and your accomplishments, Hud. Proud of you for so many academic and athletic awards. At last week’s awards ceremony you received honors for grades and academic successes, as well as a spattering of field day awards, just a tiny glimpse of your athletic ability. Lots of God-given talent, and lots of hard work.

But aside from field day ribbons and honor roll certificates, there are a few other things I want to remember from these elementary years.

- In kindergarten, when you came home the first week of school and asked me not to pack you any more PB&J sandwiches - your favorite -  for lunch. You’d met a new friend, Thomas, who was allergic to peanut butter, so highly allergic that he wasn’t able to sit next to anyone eating it. You decided early on that Thomas was not going to sit alone. So for a full year, you insisted on no pb&j’s.

- In 4th grade, hunched over the pool house desk, away from our noisy kitchen and den, you worked diligently for a couple of hours on Wordly Wise and other homework. You were totally, completely overwhelmed with the amount of work due the next day. When I asked you to join us at the park for a few minutes for some fresh air, you vehemently declined, and then continued to “spiral down” as I urged you to take a break. I tried all my strategies to console you. None worked. Finally, I pulled you to me and held you close for a few minutes, the only thing that calmed you as a baby, and then left you in tears with your work. I ran in to grab the puppies and other kiddos, and as we walked past the sun room glass door, there you stood, big grin and a bright wave. I took a second glance, slowly pulled the door open, and asked what was going on.
“Mom, I just remembered. If God gives me a big task, He will give me the strength to finish it. We just learned about that in Bible study last night. I just forgot. But God just reminded me - even if I can’t do it, He can!”
And that was that. Big grin, relaxed shoulders, and you sat back down to finish up all that homework. And then half an hour later found you running around the playground with the rest of us, and I watched you with joy knowing you had personally, intimately tasted the Lord’s kindness.

- Last fall, when a young mom approached me about how helpful my son was. She didn't know you, but she knew we went together. She'd been loading boxes into the PTA closet during your recess time, and you stopped playing basketball and ran over to help her load the heavy boxes. Even without knowing her, you stopped to help.

- Even with your diligence, you are shedding those perfectionist tendencies. They have diminished so much, and you are way more relaxed at eleven than I imagined you’d be! Praise the Lord.

- Finding you, time and time again, interested in what one of us is doing: coloring on the floor with Esther; helping Basden build a fort for her dolls; chopping vegetables while I’m cooking; reading Esther’s spelling words to her; carefully teaching Basden how to write her name in cursive.

Hud, I love you. I love the things you're made of - compassion, diligence, kindness, interest in others, intelligence, humor. I love your steadfast, confident, big-hearted spirit. I see such tremendous growth in you, that even while saying good-bye to a section of these these "boyhood" years, Daddy and I both anticipate the years to come with joy and gratitude.

A few more snapshots of memories...

Kindergarten zoo field trip
Kinder - on the playground
Buddies - lots of memories ahead
Kindergarten Valentines Rollerland party
Kinder Valentines party - you and Chas were in class together every year but one
Kinder Peacemaker Play
Kinder - Flat Stanley
Kinder Field Day
1st grade tie-dye party
Cute boys!
1st grade Carnival
1st grade Christmas party
1st grade Texas play
First Grade with Mrs. Feldman
1st grade Field Day

3rd grade field day
3rd grade Storybook parade with your kinder pal. A treat to be paired with your kinder teacher, Mrs. Tucker

4th grade Storybook Parade - Josh Hamilton

4th grade Thursday Boys - Black caps!

4th grade Boosterthon
4th grade zoo field trip
4th grade lunch buddies
4th grade Christmas party
4th grade Artapalooza - duct tape creations
4th grade field day

Hosting the 5th grade back to school party
5th grade Storybook parade - Uncle Trey's clown costume (with hot pink boxers!)
5th grade Boosterthon
5th grade History Fair
5th grade I Sing America play

5th grade Valentines Rollerskating party
Mrs. Patterson's class - a great group!
As I tell you every night, Hudson, I am so, so thankful to be your Mom.
Love you, Sunshine.