Tag Archives: graduation

2011 – My Year In A Nutshell

27 Dec

January 2011

I start off the year on a good note. Tired and slightly hungover, I take part in the Resolution Run on New Years Day. With my wedding just four months away, I start to stress about the little details, like where to get married and where to hold the reception.

This month, I also donate blood for the first time  – at least, the first successful time. My inspiration is baby David, affectionately known as Captain Snuggles. Sadly, David dies just days later, at just 8 months old.

 

February 2011

We have a wedding venue and a minister! I will be getting married in the same church where both of my children were baptized into the Christian cult fellowship. My running has slowed down a little, because the stress of wedding planning has made me sick.

March 2011

We have a venue for our wedding reception! We almost booked the first place we looked at, but then we went to see the hall at the Royal Canadian Legion. They initially had the hall booked for our wedding day, but the other people have graciously agreed to move their event to the previous weekend. This means two things. First, we get to have our reception in a place that supports the veterans. And second, we now have all of the information we need to send out our wedding invitations.

This month is frantically busy. We have left most of our wedding planning to the last minute, so we have to book our DJ, our flowers, get a cake sorted, find someone to do my hair and makeup, and so much more.

April 2011

My wedding is on the last day of this month! Most things are organized, but my hairdresser and my makeup person have both bailed on me. While I dissolve into tears, my fiancé gets into the car and goes out for a drive. When he comes back, he tells me that the hair and makeup problem is all sorted out.

My soon-to-be brother-in-law introduces me to a wonderful lady, who agrees to be in charge of both of my boys for the day of the wedding. This is a very big deal for me. I worry about how my son with autism will cope with such a big day.

The big day arrives, and it goes perfectly! My hair and makeup look lovely, and the dress – made by my mother-in-law – is perfect. I marry the man I love, and everyone has a lovely time, including the kids.

May 2011

I spend time with my Mom, who has come for the wedding. We go shopping, we go for drives, we spend time with the kids, we chat and drink wine. It’s wonderful to have her with me.

One of the lowest lows of the year happens this month, with the unexpected death of our friend Ken, just days after our wedding. It is an honour to have had Ken and his wife at the wedding. It is good that we got to see him one last time. He will always be missed.

June 2011

My younger son James graduates from Kindergarten. I have a surreal kind of feeling as I watch my baby up there on stage, wearing his construction paper graduation cap, receiving his Kindergarten diploma. When he and his classmates start singing their songs, I just about die from the cuteness.

 

July 2011

I am having difficulty with my running. I struggle to find time, I am lacking motivation, and I am injured. I have missed the last two races I was registered for. On the plus side, the sporadic nature of my recent training does not appear to have affected my speed. There has not been any improvement in my performance, but there hasn’t been a noticeable decline either. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you’re struggling with something you usually love, you have to take what you can get.

August 2011

2011-08-25 11.19.19This month turns out to be unexpectedly busy. The big news is that my older son George graduates from his provincially funded autism intervention program. He has had two years of IBI followed by a year of the school stream program. His progress has been off the charts. He is ready for this graduation. I, on the other hand, am not. It represents a growing-up that I am just not ready for.

Things seem to be looking up with my running! I run two races this month, just a couple of weeks apart. My performance in the first isn’t great, but in the second, I do a lot better than expected.

September 2011

George turns 8, and I’m not really sure how this has happened. It seems like just yesterday that I held my tiny baby in my arms for the first time, and now he’s this long lanky boy who keeps growing out of his shoes.

My 2011 Run for Autism is three weeks away. I run a 10km race at the zoo and make a personal best time. The following morning, I go out for a long run in foul weather, and the day after that, I can barely walk. I feel good, though. I feel ready for the half-marathon.

October 2011

75738-1975-025f[1]The day has finally arrived: the race I have been training for all year. This is the reason I run – to raise funds for autism services, to make the world a better place for children and youth with autism and their families. I dedicate this race to my son George: my joy and my inspiration. If he can live every day with the challenges of autism, I can run a two-hour race.

It goes really, really well. I get a personal best time for the half-marathon and beat the 2:20:00 target that I’ve set for myself. What makes this day even more amazing is that I have done really well with my fundraising for this race, surpassing my combined total for the previous two years.

November 2011

I am insanely busy at work. I am on four projects, and I am also in charge of the month-end reporting for all of the projects in my department’s portfolio. I am enjoying the additional challenge that this gives me, and every month I am getting better at it.

I feel like I am starting to gain some traction in my writing. It is hard work, building up a blog following, and it’s an ongoing process. I am becoming quite prolific, though. I have my blog, I write for an ezine, I write for a project called World Moms Blog, that is growing very fast. I have been voted as one of the top 25 Canadian mom blogs, and people are starting to ask me to guest post for them. I have also resurrected the novel I started working on a couple of years ago.

I run another race at the end of the month, and demolish my previous personal best time. If I can do this after the difficult season I’ve had, what will I be capable of if I actually train? I ask my running friend Phaedra to be my coach for next year, and she agrees.

December 2011

As usual, my Christmas preparations are a last-minute frantic rush. Somehow, I get my shopping done on time and the day is a big success. We all weather the festive season with life and limb intact. It is a hard time for George, with all of the sounds and lights and people and busy-ness, but he gets through it.

On Christmas Day, James turns six. I feel a little weepy over the fact that my baby is no longer a baby. There is just something about the transition from 5 to 6.

Also on Christmas Day, I somehow manage to pinch a nerve in my back. It’s eerily reminiscent of 2 years ago, when the same thing happened. The incident in 2009 puts me out of action for two months, and I really hope this does not happen again.

The story continues in 2012. What script will I write for my life in the coming year?

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Graduation Day

28 Jun

My Kindergarten Graduate

On Friday morning we all woke up with a sense of occasion. Especially James, my five-year-old son for whom this day was happening. He had been looking forward to it all week, and now that it was here, he could barely contain himself.

In honour of the occasion, I walked him to school myself instead of dropping him off at the daycare. Once we got to the school, he ran ahead of me to join his peers, and I joined the group of parents walking towards the gymnasium where the event of the day was being held. I secured two seats in the front row, and hoped that my husband, who was taking George to school, would arrive before the excitement started.

As I waited, there was a lot of scuffling and whispering and shhhh-ing coming from behind the curtain on the stage, as the kids were obviously brought in through an unseen entrance and put into their positions. With just moments to spare, Gerard scooted in and sat beside me.

And then it began…

The curtain opened to reveal a sight that made the audience go Awwwwwwwww in unison: a class of graduating Kindergartners, all wearing oversized white mens’ shirts that had been put on backwards, and personalized graduation hats made of construction paper.

I have to tell you, they looked cute. Especially when music was cued and the kids started singing a song to the tune of Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York (instead of singing about New York, New York the kids were singing about Grade One, Grade One).  And the cuteness just about exploded near the end of the song when the kids started doing that leg-kicky dance routine. They were very enthusiastic about it, too.

The music segued into I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas. This time the kids weren’t singing, but they were dancing. Even though it was supposed to be a choreographed dance, it somehow didn’t matter that at no point during the song did any of the kids have matching dance moves. Their energy and enthusiasm – and the fact that my child was part of it – made it the best dance I’ve ever seen.

When the music faded out, it was time for the big moment. The children were called one by one to receive their Kindergarten certificates, which were rolled up into little scrolls and tied with ribbons. When it was James’ turn, he solemnly received his certificate and then posed for the pictures as if it was an occasion in the White House. He had taken this graduation concept very seriously all week, even telling me at one point that “graduation is no laughing matter”.

So far, I was doing OK. I hadn’t cried yet. I hadn’t even needed to reach into my bag for a tissue.

The kids were brought down from the stage and they were ushered to pre-assigned seats in the auditorium. A projector screen appeared from nowhere on the stage, and in a slightly alarming move, one of the teachers started handing out Kleenexes to the assembled parents. “You might need these,” we were told.

The lights were dimmed and the show began…

It was a photo montage of the kids’ school year, and it was absolutely beautiful. The pictures of James showed a kid who was happy, social, and doing really well. My heart burst with pride.

Yes, I cried. So did all of the other parents. The person who was probably crying the hardest at the end of it, though, was the teacher. She clearly cares about every child she teaches. And that shows in how well the kids have done, and in how excited they are to be in Grade One.

The day could not have been more perfect. So what if the singing wasn’t exactly in tune? And so what if the kids chose, on the day, to dance to the choreography inside their own heads? We, the parents, had the privilege of seeing our kids being the wonderful, spontaneous human beings they are.

We saw them being themselves, and it was the best thing ever.