Lasting Memories: My Youngest’s Final Days in Elementary School

Lasting Memories: My Youngest’s Final Days in Elementary School

This week, my youngest child finishes fifth grade, which means my family graduates elementary school. It feels different with my youngest. Everything does. This closes a chapter on a major influence on my children’s childhoods. And it all feels weird. Our lasting memories and final days in elementary school are palpable.

To begin with, I’m not good with change. I play it off to my kids like every transition is this fun new phase, but I worry. Then again, I’m always worried about them. That’s part of being a mom and there’s no growing out of that.

Having my youngest leave elementary school, I feel sad, nostalgic, proud, happy, worried, excited, exhausted, stressed, and ready for summer. I will feel all these emotions and then some again in August when he walks those middle school halls. I’m proud of both of us! As a parent with chronic illness, it’s been a blur.

How Did This Happen So Fast?

My first thought is, “How did this happen so fast?” I look back at the first day I walked my oldest into kindergarten and at the last day for my youngest, and it went so fast. Yet it feels like lifetimes ago that we were the people we were and are today.

It’s this end of an era, another chapter-type moment that is so bittersweet. It’s not just the transition to another school, which feels big, but also saying goodbye to ones we’ve known for so many years.

Lasting Memories of Elementary Teachers

I look back at the teachers my children had in elementary school and some will stay forever in our hearts. Over the years, I saw some teachers go the extra mile by saying something that resonated with them, believed in them, and understood them emotionally while pushing them academically. They heard and believed what you were telling them. Thank You! You are so appreciated and your influence will last with them a lifetime!

There were also not-so-great ones and situations I didn’t love. We will remember that too. And grow from it.

Final Days with Our Bus Driver and Parent Volunteers

There are many people overlooked in the elementary thank yous. Some of them are bus drivers and parent volunteers. We have been cursed with a bad bus driver and blessed with the best. And let me tell you, there isn’t much more I appreciate than someone who loves and cares for my children while I rely on them to keep them safe.  My kid’s elementary school bus driver loves my kids. She is the type of person who drives them but also is another safe adult for them to come to and feel protected by. This is very rare and in our final days, I know we may never get it again. Leaving the safety net of our transportation is hard.

Volunteering on my last days feels very sad. It’s not that I can’t volunteer when they are older, but elementary parent volunteering is special. The classroom parties with these tiny voices. Watching them want attention and squeals of laughter. And the moms (dads and grandparents) who give up so much of their time, effort, and money to make the entire school better. Volunteering is a privilege. Many parents can’t, and to be honest, don’t want to spend time out of their schedules to be planning and working for the school (for free!). The volunteers that run our school are a group that I’m very thankful for. These volunteers make these great events happen and ensure that our kids are having an extra special time. They are wildly overlooked and underappreciated by most. My thanks go out to all the people who helped put smiles on our babies’ faces.

Big Kids, Big Problems

By the time my youngest is leaving elementary school, I have been a parent of a middle schooler for a couple of years and that has hardened me. As a middle school parent, I’ve had conversations that I wasn’t ready for but faced. The big kid big problems phase kicks in and parenting somehow gets harder. But in a different way. I no longer relate to the kindergarten parent who has babies at home. I miss it. But that’s not me now.

The feeling of sending your child to kindergartenLasting Memories: My Youngest’s Final Days in Elementary School

In fact, that’s not us now. My family isn’t revolving our lives around nap schedules and meltdowns. We are revolving our schedules around sports schedules and social calendars. And still the occasional meltdown (by all of us)! There’s a saying, “By the time your youngest is ready to leave elementary school, so are you.” As someone who doesn’t like goodbyes, I feel it a bit. The fifth graders feel big for the school and it feels like it’s time.

Moving On and Leaving Elementary School

So I guess by the time my youngest finishes elementary school we will all be ready. Right?! But it’s weird. I loved my days as an elementary parent and the little school that laid its foundation. It’s weird that I won’t be volunteering there. Weird that the field trips are over. Weird that I won’t see the teachers in the halls or at parties. I’ll miss seeing those faces and the hugs from my kids and friends who are now so much bigger. It’s strange that I won’t be driving to that school and weird that we no longer go there.

Overall, it’s heart-wrenching that my babies are growing up so fast.

Are We Ready?

Still, remains the question, “Is he ready? Am I ready?” I’m nervous about this next phase. This may be my youngest, but he is so different from my older one and it all, somehow, feels brand new. That’s something I’ll worry about more this summer.

I’m Not Crying, You Are!

In the final days, I’m going to focus on being present and enjoying my last moments as an elementary mom. I signed up for every last field trip, field day, party, or celebration event that I could. His graduation and clap-out will give me all the feels. I want to be present for as much as I can and be as present as I can in these moments. Transitions make me want to hold on to each moment a few seconds (minutes, days) longer. They are hard but necessary. I’m not crying, you are!

The bottom line is, I’m not good with change. This all feels weird. Why are they growing so fast? And when did I get old?

I'm not good with change. This all feels weird. Why are they growing so fast? And when did I get old?

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Sarah Rathsack

Sarah tells stories of My Migraine Life. Living life through Migraine consists of advocacy, treatment, prevention, and searching for health and happiness in a positive honest way. Her kids, husband, dog, family and friends motivate her to make a difference in the Migraine World.

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