At Lex’s graduation (which we’d all have missed if Nathan hadn’t called me from his classroom to say it was at 10, NOT 10:30, allowing me (at 9:58) to call Lex’s dad and my mom, and then race to the school) they played a video made up of all the fifth graders answering one of the following questions:
- Who is your hero?
- What advice do you have for incoming 5th graders?
- If you could go back in time, what one thing would you change?
- Who is your best friend?
- Who do you want to be the next president?
Lex said, If I could go back in time, I would save John Lennon*, because I really, really love his music.
Next, they gave certificates to the kids who won the spelling bee, and also to the winning debate team. Lex was on the debate team (if you have ever met him, you are saying out loud DUH!) and his teacher read the team’s closing argument. While she read, Lex pointed his thumb at his chest, mouthing, I wrote that! I was sitting next to Lex’s dad, who leaned over and told me that his finance’s brother, a lawyer — a Harvard-educated lawyer — had helped Lex write that closing argument. I always make the kids do their own work, but I have to admit that the lesson Lex learned (if you’re gonna have a grown up help you, pick the one who is the Very Most Qualified) is just as valuable.
Finally, the kids got their certificates and handshakes, but not before each stopping by the microphone on the way and telling the audience one last thing. Each kid had a promise: I promise to do my best in school. I promise to always be kind and respectful. I promise to clean my room. (I cheered for that kid) I promise to become an NHL player, make the All Star team, and buy my mom a penthouse in New York City. I promise to never give up on my dreams; the easy ones and the hard ones. I promise to have a successful life. I promise to play in the NBA. I promise to become a veterinarian. I promise to eat my vegetables. I promise to follow my dream of becoming a doctor. It was so sweet, watching the kids approach the microphone with varying levels of excitement and dread, twisting in place while talking. I watched the girls who’d dressed up, wobbly on unfamiliar high heeled shoes (funny how liberal and laid back I am, and yet NO FIFTH GRADER OF MINE will ever wear black, strappy, kitten heels with a too-short dress and full makeup. OVER MY COLD, DEAD BODY). Lex said, I promise to live each day as if it were my last. He’s got a bit of the romantic dreamer in him, that’s for sure.
They closed by showing a long slideshow of photos taken during the year, set to music with lots of strings, and also What a Wonderful World sung by Iz Kamakawiwo`ole. I’m a die-hard Louis Armstrong fan, but I love Iz’s version just as much. Anyway, between the music and the great shots of my very own kid (one of him from the back, bending over with his red and white plaid boxers hanging over the top of the waistband of his black jeans), and my mom getting teary, and then the big, tall dad next to me getting teary, I finally quietly lost it.
Tonight Lex and I went to dinner at a swank restaurant:
We were there for a long time, but never ran out of stuff to talk about. I really do enjoy his company. My plate is grilled wild salmon on a bed of black rice, with endive, basil, strawberries and basalmic vinegar. I nearly cried it was so very good. I miss swank. Must get swankier!
We sat outside and watched the sky. The fires in the mountains south of us *you’ll want to read about that here, because I can’t do it any justice in this post* turned the sky orange and grey and brown all at once. It was so striking that I kept turning to look at it. I tired to take a photo, but even my iPhone got confused. Look:
Honestly, I did not drop the phone into my glass of wine. Maybe it’s trying to tell me something. Like charades, only minus the gesturing. Okay, that would just make it a clue, really. Nevermind.
At the end of the meal, our waitress said, Well, I don’t know where you got him, but he’s great! He held the door open for me. I gave him major praise for that one and while I was at it, I told him that there is no such thing as going Dutch. I said that if he asks a girl on a date, he should ALWAYS pay for everything. Really? he asked. Really, I said. And if she offers, you just look her in the eye and say, No, I wouldn’t dream of it. Now what movie did you say you’d like to see?
Several times after we got back home he told me what a great day he’d had. And it was, really, pretty great. I wonder if he feels like I do, like it’s all a little hard to absorb just yet because it seems unreal. Didn’t he just fall and break his arm in second grade? How is he two months away from middle school? How is he suddenly two thirds of the way grown?
*they share a birthday