I woke up early this morning and decided to get up and get right to some chores I had on my list before heading to work. One of the chores I wanted to complete was filing some of your school papers for this year.
I tucked away the test paper you brought home – the one you thought might not have such a good grade on it. Thank you for your honesty – and the warning – but the ‘A’ you received was because you studied. You earned it. Remember that it pays off in the end.
I filed the program from your Drama Club production. Though I sit in the back when I watch, I’m no less proud of you than the parents who take the front rows. I let them sit there. I sit in the back because I want to take it all in, not just your part and your costume and your lines, but the whole picture. It’s endearing to watch the parents as they poke each other when their child comes on stage or to watch those parents behind the cameras. If I sat in front, I would miss it all.
I tucked away your final report card for this year. Congratulations to you for the grades! I’m proud of you. It was a difficult year, filled with obstacles beyond our control, but every time I asked you to let me do the worrying and carry the load, you did. I could tell when you forget to let me be the lodestone, but my gentle reminders paid off for you. More important than my pride for you, should be your pride in yourself. You didn’t give up.
Your piano recital music is in the folder, now too. I will miss the middle school concerts. I liked listening to you practice. I remember when you made your selection for the recital. I remember when you brought your music home for the first time. I remember how overwhelmed you seemed when you looked at it. But . . . you broke it down, practiced each day and bit by bit, it came together . . . just when you needed it to.
Your test scores and graphs for where you stand compared to others in your grade are in the folder too. They ae more than satisfactory, but they are less important to me than that how you compare to yourself at this time last year. I understand the need for standards, but it’s important to me that you just keep learning, and trying, and studying, and making progress. You did that.
The portable file box is filled now. I can’t fit another file folder in it. It’s the same filing system your mother started for you when you . . . wore a much smaller shoe size. You’re first drawings are there. Your first paintings are there. Your hand-print is there. The first time you printed ‘Mommy’ is there too.
Each year is labeled, so you can look back in an organized fashion. I kept it up for you.
I remember one time after your mother passed away, you came to me with your baby book and you were crying. You just wanted to know who would fill in your book. Of all the things you could have said, I found that moment so insightful for such a little girl. You knew that your memory-keeper was gone.
I may not be your original memory-keeper, but I have kept up from where you mother had no choice but to leave off. I filled in your baby book, and I’ve kept up the files, too. The baby book ends with the primary grades, so I think it’s appropriate that the file box is filled now, too.
Your mama started a good system, so let’s not change it, but what do you say we go shopping for a new file box for all the things you choose to bring home from . . . high school. Ok?