Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Josephs 5th Grade Graduation and a Major Mommy Meltdown


Wow.

Joseph has grown up. This year was his last year in elementary school, and now he has advanced to middle school!!! AAUUGGHH!!

When did this happen? Wasn't I just giving birth to him? Changing his diapers? Chasing him down the street in my bathrobe? Teaching him to ride a bike? Videotaping him catching a giant praying mantis that he named "Microphone"? Teaching him to read? Nursing him through various injuries such as being hit by a car or scraping off his face on the street after trying to jump a trash can with his scooter? Sitting through endless pediatrician, neurologist, opthamologist, audiologist, speech pathologist, and behavioral psychologist appointments as we struggled to help him achieve in school?

Didn't he just start school? Like...a minute ago?

Okay - I'm having a mommy meltdown...I know...and I'm going to pay proper tribute to that meltdown in just a moment...because I don't believe in pent-up angst...but first, I want to tell you about Josephs graduation ceremony.

First off - the whole last week of school was a fun week for 5th graders. They had a basketball tournament, an autograph breakfast followed by a movie day, their actual graduation ceremonies (held at the Miramar Cultural Center), and then an all-day dance party on the last day of school. They got goodie bags with photo albums, frames, a picture CD of the year, and Blockbuster Gift Cards.

They had A LOT of fun...

Tuesday was the graduation ceremony. The brand new Miramar Cultural Center was all set up for our schools graduation...and it was beautiful. There were speeches and awards for Math First, WSLE, Reading Across Broward, Reading Counts, SOAR, and all the extracurricular activities like Orchestra, various clubs, and PAL.


Joseph was awarded 2nd place for his SOAR essay and received a medal...he was just shining from the stage as he looked proudly out into the audience at us. He also received certificates for participation in PAL, Environmental Club, and Beginning Strings.


Then, of course, he got his diploma.


When Jason and I heard about all the goings-on surrounding the 5th grade graduation, I have to admit that we were rather bemused. I mean...c'mon! It's 5TH GRADE. Big deal. It was a whole lotta ado about nothing.

But there, in the Cultural Center, looking at my boy as he smiled at me, and cheering him and seeing him stand so tall and proud...I got really choked up. I couldn't believe that my guy...my buddy...was moving on to Middle School.

(And now comes the Mommy Meltdown. Buckle up, people...it's gonna be bad...)

Here is my sweet, super chubby boy. This was way back in the Valley (AKA California), in our little 1880's Orchard House. He loved his baths...


...especially because "Bath Time" is where he discovered that he was a boy. Can't you hear the cute baby internal monologue?

"Hey!! What's THAT?!?! I can pull it, push it, squeeze it...but I can't quite bend over all these folds of fat to get it any closer. Man!! Whew!! Time to lay off the Pureed Bananas!!"

(He'd kill me if he knew I was posting this on the web. Shhh...let's keep it between us, okay?)

Right away, Joseph showed an aptitude for all things mechanical. And he loved to be in the great outdoors...
"C'mon, son!! Let's get crackin' on the South 40!!"

Joseph was only about 15 months old when we moved half-way across the country from the West to the MID-West...the Plains (AKA Illinois). Joseph was an energetic toddler...


I think this expression says it all...don't you? If that isn't mischief...than I don't know what mischief is...but in case you need more proof, I can submit the following picture into evidence...

Yup!! That's my boy!! (You can see he's even pulled in his little sister as an accomplice!!) Although a little wild, Joseph always had a sweet spirit, and loved his siblings...


Look at what a good big brother he is to share his Fourth of July spot with both Savannah AND Brigham!!

Oh, look!! Josephs first year of preschool!! Isn't he ADORABLE!!! The Plains were a GREAT place for a boy to grow up...there was so much adventure to be had...

There were farms of all shapes and sizes to learn about life, nature, and hard work...

There were seasons to change the look and feel of your home...from chilly and colorful Autumns to frosty and serene Winters, wet and stormy Springs to hot and humid Summers. Every season had a new adventure to be undertaken...

And through them all...Joseph was like a ball of sunshine...and not just because of his boundless energy...but also from his endless curiosity and drive to get out and explore.

See how much he's growing? Even then...I could hardly keep him in clothes. I was always SO GRATEFUL for people who had kids older than mine that would donate their "grown-out-of" attire so my kids wouldn't be naked...

Now here is Josephs FIRST Graduation...from Happy Hands Preschool. He has his diploma, ribbon, and paper plate graduation cap. Now THAT'S a graduation!!!

Here's Joseph on his first day of kindergarten, with his best bud, Javiar. What a team!! You can see things haven't changed much...Joseph still breaks out a kung fu pose when the camera comes out...


Now here's something that we don't see in the Jungle...SNOW!!! It snows A LOT in the Plains...and we had a great hill for sledding down in our own backyard...


Like any good red-blooded Americans, we made sure that our small son was subjected to Monster Truck Racing at an early age...

This is the picture I used for Josephs yearbook this year...to show what he looked like in kindergarten compared to what he looks like now. As you can see - he's still a charmer...

Ahhh!! Here's ANOTHER Graduation...this time from kindergarten. Look at that happy face as he holds his little certificate!!

Shortly after this, our family moved from the Plains to the Desert (AKA Nevada). It was a big change for everyone...but we love an adventure!! Our house was actually big enough for our family, and we were close to grandparents and cousins again!! And Joseph kept growing...

...although some things stayed the same...

Hey!! Here's the pictures of Joseph after that accident with his scooter!! They're taken a few days (a week?) later...you can still see lots of damage...

Although barely visible, Joseph still has scars around his eye (where the dark red wound is) from this accident!! And let this be a lesson...WEAR YOUR HELMET. The street is NOT KIND to your face...

See? He cleaned up okay!! And LOOK!! He's wearing THE SAME SHIRT he wore for his kindergarten Graduation...only now it fits!! (That polo is now in Brighams drawer...)

Joseph was really popular in school. I had been noticing for a long time that he seemed to struggle in reading and writing...his penmanship was illegible, and in second grade, he was STILL transposing letters and spelling phonetically...but his teacher assured me that he was at the top of his class in all subjects. I suspected it was because his school was 98% ESL students, and since Joseph ALREADY spoke English, OF COURSE he was doing better than the majority of his classmates. But Joseph was happy, and I didn't push it as hard as I probably should have...

Right before we moved away from the Desert, Joseph turned 8 years old, and was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-Day Saints by his dad. We were so proud...

Although Joseph became a Wolf Scout in the Desert, it wasn't until we moved to the Ranch (AKA Texas) that he really got to experience Scouting. He participated in all kinds of great Scout activities...like the Rain Gutter Regatta...

...and the Pinewood Derby...

Joseph still loved adventure...

The Ranch turned out to be a really pivotal time for Joseph, because without a classroom full of kids who were learning English, he was no longer the top of his class. In fact, he was REALLY struggling. He had a strict, no-nonsense teacher...Mrs. Boyle, who had a son who suffered from ADHD and dyslexia, and together we had Joseph tested and evaluated. It was long...and hard...and extremely frustrating for us AND Joseph. She was never soft on him, but she loved him dearly...and was there through all the medication switches and side effects...the drastic mood swings, exhaustion, and appetite loss...and she was patient and supportive through the most difficult year of Josephs short life. She was truly a blessing...

We only lived at the Ranch for 9 months before packed up and moved to the Jungle...and we've been here ever since.

Joseph still struggles in school...sometimes with lack of compassion from others more than his learning differences. Joseph still loves adventure. He is still active in Scouting, and still loves things that are mechanical or technological...and he was accepted into the Science and Pre-Engineering Magnet Program at McNicol Middle School next Fall. We're very, very proud of the amazing young man he's becoming.

Yes...he's still young, and a little immature. He has a hard time following through and would rather spend all day on the Wii than crack open a book.

But he's my guy...and first-born son. We have a lot of hopes and aspirations for him...and I know he'll make us proud...


Love you, buddy...Mom

1 comment:

Sunni Shoemaker said...

This is VERY sweet!!!