The following content may contain affiliate links. When you click and shop the links, we receive a commission.
The end of the school year brings so many emotions for me. Whether it’s riding the crazy-busy wave of those last few weeks of school, or processing the many feelings that your kids “moving up” in the school ladder may bring, this time of year always serves as a natural benchmark for how far the kids have come in a short year. And how far we’ve come as a family!
I don’t know about you, but this month always feels like “MayCEMBER” to me! The many school events and reminders, the ordering of supplies for the year ahead, the gifts and cards for teachers, the excitement in the air as the kids get closer and closer to the summer break. Spring is the time of year I look forward to, and yet we get here and I feel instantly overwhelmed! And I know I’m not the only one. It normally helps me to really sit with gratitude for everything that has happened during the school year. The lessons, both good and bad, that each of my kids have learned.
This year was FULL of growth for both Marlowe and Major. Marlowe went into 3rd grade with a lot of anxiety about what the year was going to be like…and she completely crushed it! She worked so hard and got back up to grade level in both reading and math. And, she even began to love to read! Both she and Major will read in their beds at night and in the morning. As a Mom who grew up as such a bookworm, it really warms my heart to watch her finally fall in love with reading and to actually enjoy the stories instead of struggling through them. She also discovered her love of art this year! One of her favorite ways to calm down and decompress is to draw, and it’s been amazing to watch her abilities really develop and grow. I’m SO proud of her. I’m also proud of her for handling some big speed bumps this year. She’s gone through a lot the last few years managing anxiety and the special way she learns…on top of it all, she experienced her first real dose of bullying.
I was kind of shocked to hear about how catty it can get in the third grade, and honestly, at first it completely infuriated me. Marlowe was devastated and kept on saying that she didn’t know what she had done wrong or how to fix it. She came home many days in tears. Then, as I sat and really reflected, I realized that the most important thing we could do for her was to really reinforce that no matter HOW people treat you in school, you can always come back to your family– who you can count on to know you, see you, and uplift you. I told her that people will keep being catty for many years to come. It’s not ok, but it doesn’t mean that you have to stoop to their level, or that you have to let it affect your spirit. We practiced a lot of self-love exercises, affirmations, and bond-building at home. And though behaviors at school didn’t change much, her resilience did. And I’m really glad because that is a lesson that will serve her for her entire life. At the end of the day, we all need to find our people and invest in the relationships that make us feel good. NOT the ones that make us feel bad.
Major also matured leaps and bounds this year! He started Kindergarten, and we were super lucky to get an absolutely INCREDIBLE teacher who really sees Major and totally embraces him. He’s been nurtured a lot emotionally at school, but he’s also been challenged. He is now fully reading the same books as Marlowe, and he’s developed a love of math due to the awesome math problems his teacher will make up just for him at Choice Time. I’ve been loving watching him form deep bonds with other boys his age. He has so much fun playing sports at recess with them, and it’s been one of the catalysts for his newfound love of Soccer and Baseball. I’m personally very proud that he can be an example at school of loving BOTH sports, and dance. His friends see how much his love of dance makes him a graceful and precise athlete as well! Mostly, I’m just really proud that his teachers and the administrators at his school always tell me what a sweet and polite boy he is, and how helpful he is around the school. Sometimes Middle Children can get a little lost in the shuffle, and school has been a place where Major has really found an identity that is completely his own. I can’t wait to see how first grade is for him!
Speaking of school next year, both of the kids will be moving schools in the Fall. While I anticipated a complete meltdown about it, both of them are being really brave and optimistic. Marlowe, in particular, has moments of fear and anxiety about it (I mean, who wouldn’t), but overall they really are looking forward to growing their friendship circles, and they’re excited for a fresh start. It’s been making me reflect on my own childhood, and being “The New Kid” really often. While I was officially at the same Elementary and Middle School for my young childhood, I did often go “on location” with my parents while they filmed movies, and I would enroll at new schools. There were of course those days and moments of intimidation, but overall I truly do credit those experiences for making me the person I am today. I learned so much resilience, and now as an adult I can swim in absolutely any social situation. I think that as scary as changing schools can be, it ultimately will provide an excellent tool in their toolbox as they mature and grow. As we all know, life is full of the unexpected. It’s so important to me as a parent to teach my kids that life does not have to unfold “perfectly” in order to find joy or satisfaction!
And lastly, my reflections wouldn’t be complete without a little report on my littlest Bug! Quite honestly, I’m blown away daily by this guy. I cannot fathom how he knows the things he knows or catches on the way he does. His ability to complete jigsaw puzzles is actually beyond what either of his siblings can do at 8 and 6 years old! In time, I think I will definitely test him for Giftedness if only to make sure I am aware of how I need to support and challenge his intellect as he grows older. But aside from that, I truly can’t wait to see how he flourishes in preschool next year! As anybody who follows me on my blog or social media knows, Mateo is quite…opinionated…and VERY independent. LOL. I think the structure of school will be extremely interesting for him, and will definitely be a certain kind of challenge! Thankfully, I know his preschool teacher very well (she taught the other two kiddos!) so I feel like the potentially frequent calls I’ll be getting from school will have a little bit of context for her. Ha!
Jokes aside, I’m really so grateful to have all of my kids in wonderful and nurturing school communities. It makes all the difference as a parent to know that regardless of where your child is in terms of their emotional development or education, that there are people there to welcome them with open arms. Teachers and school administrators don’t get celebrated enough for all that they do. The ones who love what they do are real gifts to entire communities!
I’d love to know some of the “Peaks” and “Pits” of your experience this school year! Let me know in the comments below.