I think he thought I had a glob of mascara in my eyes, because he definitely wasn't feeling the emotional vibes I was shooting like a missile across the pew. Mind reading is not really man's gift.
To be honest, I feel like Ben's middle school years were pretty mellow. I'm definitely not complaining about that, it's just that I think I had prepared myself for things to be much more difficult. I certainly don't want to graft my life experiences on to my children, but since my memories of middle school aren't exactly filled with merriment, I couldn't help but brace myself for the worst. I haaaaaated middle school. Whenever I stroll down memory lane my brain takes a serious short cut through the back alley of those years.
Maybe it's just a boy thing. Maybe the challenges that come with being a middle school teen just don't bother boys the way that they bother girls. Or, maybe boys simply don't find flailing on the bed in a sea of tears very therapeutic. Or, maybe the ups and downs that Ben experienced over the past couple of years were, to him, easy to handle because he knew he had a great support system here at home (I hope he felt that, I really do).
GULP. That was a "Jesus take the wheel" moment.
Wow. There's some perspective for ya. Maybe by then I'll be used to closing this chapter on our boys' lives. Maybe I'll even have a handle on my tears.
A few more photos and tales from graduation day...
We surprised Ben on the last day of school with a candy card (another brilliant idea from Pinterest).
Hello, dental bills.
I love watching the boys getting spiffy together. Henry missed the memo on dress socks.
90% of our photos look like this.
The other 10%.
Joseph is M.I.A. He felt it was the perfect time to sleep of the carb load of Cheerios and peach puffs from afternoon snack time.
My parents were happy to come and share their love and support for Benedict.
Benedict with Grandpa Bob. Steve's mom was in Rome, but was definitely with us in spirit!
Each of the 8th grade students put together a scrapbook of their elementary and middle school years.
The books were put out on the tables at the reception for family and friends to enjoy. Benedict really dreaded this project, because he couldn't see the purpose in it. I encouraged him to consider it to be a portrait of his life so far - a tangible display of the gifts and opportunities that God has given him, which can be a way of discerning God's will for his future. When it was finally complete, I think he was surprised to see his story unfold, and what a beautiful and blessed story it truly is.
The parents of one of Ben's classmates put together a slide show featuring photos of each of the graduates. I loved watching all of the kids' faces during the show. I could see that they each felt really loved by their family and friends and also very proud of their school and all of their personal accomplishments.
Six cups of sugar and Red Dye #40 later, Henry decides he'll be ready for sleep sometime next week.
Josie and Joseph, class of 2028!!
Benedict's graduation gift was a surprise trip to Kansas City to watch the Royals play the St. Louis Cardinals. We sat right long third base line about 10 rows up from the Cardinal's dugout.
Even though the game was rained out in the 6th inning, we still had a really great time!
I find that these times of celebration pass all too quickly, and soon we are back in our work shoes, marching through the ordinary days of life. I am, though, equally thankful for those ordinary days, because I know that no matter what we are called to do with the time we are given, to be able to work and live and laugh and cry together as a family really is the sweetest time, and it is not to be overlooked or dismissed because our sights are set on times and opportunities that we hope will be easier, more pleasing or more enjoyable...times and opportunities that require less of us in the way of virtue and devotion. These ordinary days, in which we forge ahead, are shaping our sons into men, and I count every single one that I get to spend with them, before they leave our home, as precious, precious gift.