The New Fourth Grader

I woke up this morning to the realization that we now have a fourth grader in the household.  I understand that this is the inevitable conclusion to the end of third grade so I’m not necessarily shocked.  Time is still moving at the same speed, the earth is still rotating around the sun, the promise of decent weather in July is still around the corner.  In other words, all is as it should be in the universe.  If my daughter were repeating the third grade next year that would be cause for concern.  But at the same time, fourth grade seems like a pretty big deal to me.  I can’t believe our daughter is growing up so quickly!

As has been our tradition all year, yesterday morning I took my daughter to the bus stop.  During our walk my daughter caught sight of her friend who had an emergency appendectomy on Friday.  The last day of school is a big deal to these kids and the loss of an internal organ apparently is not enough to keep these young die-hards from basking in the glory of what is the biggest day of the school year.  Ella’s friend joined us on our walk, albeit at a slower pace than normal.  I can’t imagine how uncomfortable it would be to have surgery on a Friday and be up and walking on a Tuesday.  We passed the home with the strange new outbuildings that we still don’t completely understand.  We walked by another home that is in its third season of being almost finished.  We approached – quietly – the psychotic Rottweiler affectionately known as “Cujo” to Ella and I.  Inevitably, he and Abby sparred verbally back and forth as we walked along.  To the uninitiated, this rite would have been followed by severe leash burns; however, I am used to this routine and calmly secured the leash behind my back. 

Within a few minutes of arriving at the bus stop a low, pleasant hum can be heard, occasionally punctuated by children laughing or shouting.  Cujo inevitably chimes in (he can’t have his overall scariness trumped by the laughter of children) and the din is a bit cacauphonous for a few seconds.  Things calm down, coffee is sipped, money is collected for the bus driver and a card is circulated for signatures.  The bus arrives and the parents say their final goodbyes of the school year. 

The walk home is a time for reflection and the inevitable conflicting feelings of pride, relief and happiness.  It’s been a great year.


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