Friday, June 29, 2012

Last Day

Today is Melese's last day of preschool. In September we'll try a new school. School has been a real mixed bag for Melese. I feel like we started him too early.

His new school is just blocks from Meazi's. Somehow I feel this will make a difference.

We shall see.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

When She Was Just a Girl...She Expected the World.

When she was just a girl, she expected the world. But it flew away from her reach. So she went away in her sleep.

Dear Meazi,

Today was your last day of first grade. You were bouncing off the walls when I brought you to your classroom this morning. The room was buzzing with excitement. You have loved first grade. You adore your new school. You've made many new friends. You said it is a bittersweet time for you- sad because it is the end of the year, happy because you will soon be a second grader. How do you know the word bittersweet Meazi?

To say that we are proud of you is an understatement. Yesterday when I dropped you off, I took a moment to just gaze at you. I couldn't help it. You were radiating light. Your friend, and your brother, were staring at you too. You regaled us with some simple story that somehow sounded sparkly because you were telling it. It was as if I were standing next to the sun. Your eyes were huge, and your hair had been just braided by a friend the night before. You were literally shining.

You have shared a lot with your classmates. At the beginning of the year you showed them a picture of your Ethiopian family. You told everyone your entire adoption story. For weeks after, many of the other adopted kids in your class came and told me their adoption stories. When you received your citizenship, you brought in pictures the next day for show and tell.

As a student council member you showed everyone the school you helped build in Kololo. You told them that your father, and your uncles, worked on this school. You showed them what can happen when a community comes together.

You wrote a letter to President Obama, asking him to change things so that people from other countries could become president.

You learned how to hold, pluck, and nearly play the violin.

You showed your entire school your Eskista, and sang "I'm Black and I'm Proud" at the top of your lungs.

When we received the first and only picture of your late Ethiopian momma, you immediately brought it to school to show everyone. "I think my momma is the most beautiful person in the whole world," you said. You pulled the huge 8x10 out of an envelope, gasped and said to me, "Mom, when I first saw this photo I was sure that it was me!" You look so much like her. So much like her.

You are teaching me about what it means to be a friend. In a recent conversation I told you that you might want to avoid a classmate that wasn't treating you so nicely. You said, "Mom, if you are really good friends with someone, you are going to have fights! You just are! She is working on being kinder, and I am helping her." A bunch of kids came to play at the house. They asked you to leave the kitchen so they could draw something for you on the chalkboard.

"I Like Meazi. You are brite(sic) as sun shine."
 Your school assigns fourth graders to first graders as buddies. Your wise and wonderful teachers got you a new buddy after a couple of months. Your first buddy wouldn't hold your hand. I can't imagine why someone wouldn't want to hold your hand. Your second buddy is an amazing girl, generous with hugs and hand holding. She recently did 177 cartwheels in five minutes. You watched her take a horseback riding lesson last weekend. She is lanky like you. Today you wore two flowers on your wrist when I picked you up. Taped to them were her name and yours, a gift from her on your last school day.

I am making it sound like you are perfect. In the beginning of the year we called you Officer Krupke . Your teachers had told us you were policing the classroom, and that you were acting like the victim a lot. You were easily wounded, and felt like you weren't getting what everyone else got. I'd see you cut in line, and tell the teachers about every slight, complaining frequently about your friends. Those same wise and wonderful teachers have assured me that you are over this. They told me that you have matured so much over this last semester.

You love books. You love those Wimpy kid books. You can read chapter books, but prefer that we read to you. You have met Laura Ingalls, and Roald Dahl, and Beverly Cleary. You are really, really, interested in babies, especially in books that show babies being born. I have a couple of books for you on the top shelf of my closet. I bet we take them out this summer. You and your classmates created your own version of Todd Parr's It's okay to be different. Here is your page:

You are a dancer. You did a play. It was the Wizard of Oz, you were Toto, and you had a fever and a bad cold, but you went on anyway. You are shy on stage, the opposite of what you are like in real life. Your dad and I were shocked to see this side of you. It was as if you were actually scared of something. As two theatre majors, this gave us great joy and a deep sense of relief.

You like science. You have a telescope and know about photosynthesis. Daddy has decided that if he brings his bee stuff into the classroom again, that you will do the presentation. When he did it in your current class, you finished all of his sentences, and answered all of the questions. You know a lot about bees. You eat A LOT of honey.

You are a writer. Your writer's workshop stories were both heartbreaking (the story of your bus ride to the care center in Ethiopia), and hilarious (the description of daddy screaming like a girl on Splash Mountain). You are a poet.
Yesterday I picked you up in the carpool line. I chose the stay in the car option because your brother was napping in his carseat. Another mom pulled up next to me, she too, had a daughter who was a "new kid" this year. We sat waiting. I looked up and saw you come out. You spotted me, smiled, waved, and shook your hips in a funny dance. I yelled up to you, "Shake it don't break it!" The other new kid's mom leaned over and said, "She is so beautiful. I don't normally comment on physical appearances, (it's that kind of thoughtful school where 98% of the parents are trying really hard to say the right thing- in a good way) but her bone structure, and her smile...." She put her hand over her heart as she described you. I smiled and reassured her. "It's ok," I said. It is ok to say she's beautiful. Some things can't be denied.
In an attempt to capture this time for you, here are your most requested on the way to school songs:

Paradise- Coldplay
Mean- Taylor Swift
Party Rock- LMAO
Buffalo Soldier- Bob Marley
Dynamite- Taio Cruz
Lucky Now- Ryan Adams
Coconut Water- Harry Belafonte

You still like butterflies, and the color purple.

Your most successful school lunch (most eaten) was spaghetti noodles with turkey bolognese.

Things that you ask for repeatedly:

A baby sister from China.
An Ipad.
Pierced ears.
Converse high tops (the ones that go all the way to the knees).

I know that today was an emotional day for you. I am so proud of you. I am so happy that you love me.
I am so lucky that you love me.

I hope that you always feel this way about school, and about friendship, and about life.

You are beautiful.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hair Today...

A bit nervous.

Better call in reinforcements.

Like a friend from Russia.

Have a lollipop.

Take a deep breath.

Call in more reinforcements.

Get ice cream.

He did it! We did it! It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It was just a haircut! Why was I so worried?

He is so grown up.

He is so handsome.

He has no split ends.