Beginning at the End

End of school year 2016

We took the kids out to Olive Garden last night to celebrate the end of the 2015-2016 school year. Ruby ordered a plate full of mussels in red sauce. She took two bites and decided she didn’t like them. Zac ordered the shrimp Alfredo and got a plate full of spaghetti with sausage. The waitress, bless her heart, took back the mussels and got them cleared off our bill. She brought out Zac’s original choice and Ruby nibbled the spaghetti. Win-win.

We talked about stuff going on. Working on the house. Work stuff for Jonathon and me. Church stuff. Ruby did the kids menu word search and puzzles. Zac wowed us with random facts about portion sizes at restaurants (30% larger than what we eat at home).

On the way home, we listened to Zac’s music. He likes dub step and trap music, as I’ve mentioned before. He talked about some of it being “old”, like almost 10 years old. He likes a lot of different sounds. Some of the songs had real instruments in them, trumpets and the like.

On the way home, stuffed and loaded down with take-home boxes, I asked the kids a question.

“What was the best thing that happened at school this year?”

“Definitely the note,” Ruby piped up from the back seat. Her teacher, new to Evergreen this year, typed her a personal note. She praised Ruby’s unconventional thinking, sense of humor and quirky style. She said Ruby could always jog her out of a bad mood. She loved her stories and writing and encouraged her to keep it up, even including her email so Ruby could send them along. It encouraged Ruby.

Zac had a different answer.

“I think the Smarter Balance test. I got 100% on it. It made me realize I have good essay skills.”

Yes, you do, my boy. The problem with being a 5-talent person is that someday you have to choose what to do with your life. Zac excels at English, science, writing, math…Choices, choices.

Later that night, Zac and I talked some more.

“You know, Mom, the sad thing is that this is the first year I actually *tried* at school.”

His face held a mixture of wistful longing and excitement. He’s not the little boy he was. The lines and planes of his face continue to emerge as he passes into adulthood. Yet for a moment, I glimpsed the blonde round-eyed child who used to wear blue blanket capes and jump off the furniture, hoping to fly. He would crouch on the couch cushion fort he made, spread his arms and leap. His smile lit up the room as he soared through the air.

“I know,” I said. “Think of what you can do next year. You’ll have tougher classes (who does that their senior year?!). You’ll need to grind it out, from the very beginning. Get a rhythm and keep it going all year.”

Zac has one more year of high school. Look out, son, I thought. The world hasn’t seen the best of you yet.




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