(this was supposed to be posted in June 2018)
In truth, I don't really think of Grade 5 as a graduation. (Possibly because I didn't graduate until Grade 8?) But I needed to take a moment to commemorate this milestone.
I'm so incredibly proud of Josh as he goes from elementary school to middle school. He's gone from a little kid who once said to me in Grade 2 that he hated school, to a big kid who told me that he is both nervous and excited to start middle school.
We've definitely had our share of ups and downs so far in his academic journey. But I mostly wanted him to be able to read this when he's a bit older and can process what I'm saying and know that as difficult as it may have seemed at the time, it was all for a good reason. I don't think we would have gotten to this point without going through this journey.
From Arnold to Kumar to Danica to Liu to Prunier, we got to see Josh grow and learn the entire way. Not only did we have to navigate the academic challenges, but we had maneuver through social and behavioural challenges as well. Is this seriously elementary school?! This is supposed to be the easiest part!
I recall a particularly pivotal meeting I had with Josh's principal in Grade 2. She said to me, "I know that we have done our jobs when you can come and talk to me and NOT cry.". Wow, was she ever right! I didn't know what that looked like back then, but I'm sure glad I do now.
Having said that, my most important take away from this journey is this: Brian and I are the only ones who will advocate unfailingly for our kids. It's no one else's responsibility but ours. As Josh goes into middle school, then high school, we take this knowledge with us - the knowledge that we have the power to advocate for him. Our under-resourced school system has measures to help kids who need support. But they aren't always able to be the ones to say "your child needs help". Once we can accept this fact and take the first steps to getting that support, the rest will fall into place.
So, I'm going into the next stages of Josh's academic career with cautious optimism - feeling a bit better equipped to deal with what may come, but still aware that the road ahead will have ups and downs. I said earlier that this is a journey. And we want to be sure that Josh knows that we are all taking this journey together.
Congratulations on this milestone, Josh. You deserve to celebrate it!