Xander, Xander, Xander– that’s all I talk about lately. And for good reason– the end of senior year presents so many emotions, so many events, it necessarily dominates the blog. But these two cute kids also finished up 9th and 7th grades (with their own set of end of the year concerts and parties and awards nights).
Because of our age gaps, each of my kids has the comfort of one year in junior high with a sibling. And honestly, I don’t think Mary could have survived this year without Gabe smiling at her in the halls and introducing her to his friends. And by not survive, I mean she would have gone back to homeschooling– which is all well and good– but she learned so much from venturing into the world. I know a lot of homeschoolers have amazing social skills, but we were starting to use it as a way to hide.
More than once, when Mary had a rough day at school, she ran to Gabe who hugged and comforted her. All his friends treated her with absolute kindness. As Mary said repeatedly, “Junior high isn’t so bad when you have a cute, nice, older brother.”
They are such good friends, but SO different.
Gabe left the house every day at 7:17 a.m., picked up his friend Will next door and arrived at school with plenty of time to chat with friends in the halls.
Mary and I left the house at 7:31 a.m., I walked her to the corner and she ran across the field to enter the school just on time. Fairly often, she delivered Gabe’s lunch– which was easy because she memorized his schedule so she could find him at any time.
Mary left school 45 minutes early every day (7th period home release) and carried Gabe’s viola home every single day just so he wouldn’t have to go downstairs to the orchestra room.
Gabe lingered after school nearly every day playing Frisbee, chatting with his friends, comforting someone who had a bad day.
Still, they both grew into themselves this year. Gabe into a singer, actor, Frisbee star, charmer; Mary into an organized student, math whiz (thanks to khanacademy and that 7th period release) and gentle, kind friend.
Gabe is more than ready to move on to high school and Mary’s gained the skills to cope without him. Thanks to our high school realignment, Mary will be the oldest in her school as an 8th grader and Gabe will never be the youngest in high school since they are adding 9th grade to Skyline.
Mary’s days of 7th period home release will end since she decided to run for SBO Secretary/Historian– “I’ll never win. It’s a good exercise in failure.”– and then somehow ended up with the SBO sweater on her little shoulders. And Gabe’s committed to an ambitious schedule and early morning seminary.
Still, I know they’ll continue to cheer for each other, discuss math problems and Lego Batman and complain about boring assignments. I’ll forever be grateful to Gabe for shepherding Mary through this year, hugging her in the halls in front of everyone, answering 1,000 questions and throwing her 1,000 uncaught Frisbees.
She’ll miss you Gabe; but she wouldn’t be here without you.