Tonight I watched those sweet and enthusiastic sixth graders from a few years ago take the stage; now 8th graders these beautiful young ladies participated in our schoolwide pageant. While I’m not the type to be into pageants, tonight was really special. I watched behind the lens of a camera (recruited by the yearbook adviser–I’ve been there and done that). Watching these young ladies take the stage for the last time at Austin Middle School, I got a little teary-eyed. “They’re growing up. They’ll leave soon,” I thought. They were squirrely little sixth graders just seconds ago. In the blink of an eye, it seems they have become poised young ladies, and soon they will move on to high school. I watched this year’s 7th graders, my 6th graders from last year, cheer each other on and cling to each others’ hands during moments of tension. I watched my current sixth graders–many stiff and awkward make their way across the stage still seeking confidence in becoming themselves. Each girl shined in her own way–some while dancing, some while singing songs, some while smiling on stage, some while answering questions, and some while whispering support.
One girl shined smiling as she listened to my principal read her winning essay that examined what is better life now or life back in the day of her grandparents. . The essay began with lines from a song by the Judds:
Grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days
Sometimes it feels like this world’s gone crazy
Grandpa, take me back to yesterday
When the line between right and wrong
Didn’t seem so hazy
Through her words the girl told us about her idea of the good old days. While at times, she had rose-colored glasses, she still understood parts of what the simpler times of the past meant. As I listened to the young lady’s words, I thought about myself sometimes caught up too much in this world of today–working too hard, not being present enough to my family, etc.
After coming home from the pageant and reading with my six-year-old daughter Sarah, I watched my daughter sleep. On one side she held me closely; on the other she clutched Katie, her little stuffed panda. Breathing beside me in her bed she looked so sweet, so young, so innocent. I thought about my son Michael in the room next door. I thought about how earlier today my son asked me to throw the football, and I said I needed to go take a shower and get dressed. I thought about how my little girl played outside with her dad and her brother. I thought about how I should have played more with them today. I questioned who I am in this world today and who I’d like to be. I held my daughter a little closer and closed my eyes thankful for the moment as I thought about what I might do tomorrow.