May is here, and the 2022-2023 school year is coming to a close. Looking back on this school year, there is so much I want to remember.
I want to remember that this was the year of kindergarten, 1st grade, and 3rd grade. I want to remember that this was the year of library books, independent reading, and multiplication facts.
I want to remember that my oldest missed the entire first week of school because he tested positive for COVID on the evening of the last day of summer vacation. I thought it would be such a hard transition back for him, but I want to remember that he dove in like a champ.
I want to remember the first time I met my son’s third-grade teacher and how her voice’s utter joy and enthusiasm assured me he was in good hands. I want to remember how my son said, “Mrs. Busch is the best teacher in the world,” as if that was pure, objective fact.
I want to remember that this was the year the boys ran away from me at drop-off, not even stopping to say goodbye. I want to remember how my daughter hung back, hesitant, and how we developed the “kissy hand” routine to help her feel ready.
I want to remember how cute my kindergartener and her best friend look, walking down the sidewalk together underneath a Spiderman umbrella.
I want to remember the day my first-grader said, “I have a few best friends. I guess I have a friend group,” as if he was a tiny sociologist.
I want to remember all the texts and Dojo messages from my kids’ teachers–celebrating their wins, updating me on challenges, and showing off their accomplishments.
I want to remember that this was the year of absences and sickness–how they seemed to be home more than in school from November to February. I want to remember how we survived.
I want to remember how my daughter’s handwriting has changed. Her letters are growing smaller now, more confined to the lines on the paper, but she still writes so many letters and numbers backward, maybe just to help me remember how little she still is.
I want to remember the way he would casually saunter down the building’s steps in the afternoon, sometimes pretending he didn’t see me. I want to remember how he intentionally said goodbye to his friends every afternoon.
I want to remember that this was the year my daughter got glasses and how she asked me if she would ever get used to them. I want to remember how she said, “It feels like everyone was staring at me.” I want to remember when she exclaimed with surprise a week or so later, “Hey, I am used to my glasses now!”
I want to remember my son’s birthday when my in-laws picked him up from school in full inflatable T-rex costumes. I want to remember how pre-k students lined up for hugs and high-fives.
I want to remember how, after the insanity of 2020-2021, I will never take a “normal” school year for granted.
Like every school year, it’s not really about the grades or the test scores. It’s not really about spelling tests, math facts, book fairs, or field days. Those are the trappings, the stuff, the tasks. The school year is really about who they are becoming. It’s about friendships, about teachers and students, about learning and growing, about challenge and victory, about tears and laughter. Our kids spent 180 days being who they are and becoming who they one day will be–and they did it with the help of the community we call a school.
And as another school year ends, I want to remember it all.