As promised in my previous post about my granddaughter Cari's first day of her senior year in high school, today's post is about my grandson's first day of eighth grade. Yesterday was Day One of Michael's eighth grade experience. This will be his last year at All Saints, our parish school which he has attended since first grade.
I remember his first day of kindergarten--at a different school in an adjacent city. It was a day to remember, mostly because a school bus monitor at his old school put him on the wrong bus. It was a frightening experience for everyone. My late daughter Julie had to make several calls before finding out what happened and getting Michael home safely. Julie was not happy with his old school at all.
A lot has changed since then. Seven-and-a-half years ago, while he was still in kindergarten, he lost his mom and dad. Cari was ten and Michael was six at the time our daughter Julie and son-in-law Mike died in a motorcycle accident. After the accident, Cari and Michael moved in with us and have lived with us since then. It has been our joy and our blessing to raise our grandchildren, help them (and us) cope with loss and sorrow, and watch them grow into happy teens.
When Michael first moved in, he was a shy youngster who hadn't yet lost his first tooth. Now, he's a typical teenager, who loves going to our "farm" with my husband Walt (his Opa), enjoys playing sports and video games with his friends, and occasionally talks back when he thinks I'm not listening. Michael is tall for his age -- already six-foot-one -- and still growing.
The other night, after making sure he had all his his school supplies, I read his school's parent/student handbook, just in case there was a new rule I'd missed. Under the section on school uniform and proper dress, there was one sentence I hadn't noticed before--about boys not having visible facial hair. So, on his last night of summer vacation, with the help of his Opa, Michael shaved his upper lip for the first time. Wow! How did he grow up so fast?
Here is a photo taken yesterday of Walt and Michael backing out of the driveway on their way to school.
Eighth grade is going to be busy and fun--and filled with memorable experiences. Michael will go on a retreat in September and be confirmed in April. His class has field trips planned, inlcuding a tour of the Cathedral Basilica and the Holocaust Museum in St. Louis next February, watching "A Christmas Carol" at Lindenwood University in November, and a day trip to Hannibal (birth place of Mark Twain, my mom, and his dad's parents) in May.
There's a lot going on in my grandson's life; he is well on his way to becoming a young man.