(the boys in seventh and fourth grades)
The passage of time rarely troubles me. I never have been a sentimental parent. When friends mourned children moving from one grade to the next, ("Can you believe kindergarten is over?") I never felt sad, only excited for them.
Last night, my husband was dropping our older son off for a chamber music rehearsal, which takes place every Friday night at our sons' former elementary school, a private school in Princeton. Greg told me the faculty, who had stayed late for a faculty retreat, were all asking about our boys, and mentioning how Lucky's class is all graduating this year from eighth grade. I kind of had those children frozen in time; Lucky left the school after fourth grade. Most of them have stayed, and have grown up of course.
The school was a haven for our children in the years of anxiety and grief following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. But over time, it ceased to be a good fit for our boys; it had an overwhelmingly female culture that did not suit our sons; particularly the younger athletic boy; it had a persistently liberal bias in academic courses that irked our older son (not a good thing when the child analyzes the ideological assumptions behind the curriculum and finds them lacking) and was so filled with wealthy families that our middle-class children on scholarship felt like paupers among them.
Still, our sons have kept some of the Beauty they encountered there.
When I took Lucky with me to my teaching job Thursday, instinctively he held out his hand to shake the hand of every adult he met. He looked them in the eye and said hello. That was something children were expected to do every single morning upon entering the school's gates.
When Greg told me last night that Lucky's former classmates were graduating from the school next month, I burst into tears.
(the boys now, in eleventh and eighth grades)