Sunday, May 31, 2009

A journey through backpacks

I am feeling nostalgic with a wee bit of melancholy mixed in as I reflect upon the end of this school year. On Friday, Abby graduated from 6th grade and will no longer attend Our Lady of Victory school. {Just typing that sentence produces a big lump in my throat.} She will be moving on to 7th grade at Fergus Falls Middle School and will no longer be part of her small class. Abby is very excited about this change, but I, on the other hand, feel a bit scared and nervous. {Reaching for tissue now.} I will no longer personally know all of Abby's classmates, teachers, as well as the parents of her classmates. Her 7th grade class will be around 200 students.

(nŏ-stāl'jə, nə-)
  1. A bittersweet longing for things, persons, or situations of the past.
  2. The condition of being homesick; homesickness.
Yes, bittersweet longing sums things up accurately. My sweet, pony-tailed girl... you have grown up so much. {sniff}
September 2002, entering Kindergarten at age 5 at Our Lady of Victory school... armed with a massive blue, Power Puff backpack and wearing her Bubbles watch. Abby's class size was 18 and Mrs. Moen was her teacher. We had just moved to Fergus Falls 10 days earlier and neither Abby nor I knew anyone aside from the principal, Sandy Carpenter. I was the nervous one on this day almost 7 years ago, but Abby was completely comfortable walking into a brand new school with kids she had never met before. She waived good-bye and I struggled to get back to my car before my tears began streaming down my cheeks.
Entering First grade in the Fall of 2003, Abby was equipped again with her blue, Power Puff backpack. It was so loaded down, that she had to lean forward just to stay upright. Abby was 6 years old and her teachers in first grade were Mrs. Pawlowski and Mrs. Knutson, who shared the class of 19 students. By now, we knew who everyone was and what to expect. I was brave enough to let Abby ride the bus on the first day instead of driving her to school. I waived good-bye as the bus pulled away and hurried back into my home-office to cry.
In Second grade, there was a new backpack purchase. This time no theme characters; just Abby's favorite color, PINK. The backpack was still too large for her little 7 year old body. Abby's teacher was Mrs. Case and there were 17 in her class. Oh, yes, I cried after sending Abby off on the bus.
In Third grade, Abby was distinctly unhappy about having to reuse the pink backpack from the previous year. It still looks too big on 8 year old Abby. Her class had shrunk down to 13 due to some families moving. Mrs. Donnay was her teacher.
Fourth grade and a new pink camouflaged backpack was purchased. I wonder if it was too big to even wear on her back since she has it perched on the bench in this picture? Abby's class had 13 students and she got to have Mrs. Pawlowski (her former 1st grade teacher) again. This year I drove Abby to school on the first day because in 2006, Angelique started Kindergarten. I knew almost everyone at Our Lady of Victory by then and we had lived in Fergus Falls for 4 years, but oh, so difficult to let them both go. Angelique was so confident with her big sister there to show her the ropes.
Entering Fifth grade, ten-year-old Abby had to recycle her pink, camouflaged backpack. Wow - that is a massive backpack! Abby had 13 in her class and Mrs. Hohman was her teacher. I had a better grip on myself and didn't shed a tear as both girls marched off together on the bus that Fall.
Sixth grade last Fall began with a new bright, pink backpack and a new "tweener" attitude. Fashion has definitely become a passion to the point of near annoyance. This final year at OLV was interesting for Abby because her class sized had dropped to 7 and all of them were girls. Her teacher was Mrs. Nelson and Abby was so excited to be the OLDEST at the school. Plus, what could be better than to have an entire class of your very best friends? The fact that this was Abby's last year at OLV was not lost on me, but I held it together and just took pictures and waived as the girls boarded the bus.
I did not hold it together at 6th grade graduation. Her class was featured at Mass on Friday. They played Bells and it was amazing. Abby received her diploma from principal, Mrs. Carpenter.
And we had a brief reception at the gym afterwords. If I had not been wearing 4 inch heels, then the height difference between Abby and I would have been greatly diminished. I believe she is only 2 or 3 inches shorter now. I don't like to check very often 'cause I prefer denial.
Her smiling class of 7... back row L-R, Mary Gettel, Kellie Burke.
front row L-R, Mariah Sigfrid, Audra Bartsch, Abby Lindgren, Danielle Ross,Chloe Comstock.
One really fun moment was when the girls opened the time capsules they created in 3rd grade. Abby thought her self-portrait she had put into her time capsule was particularly funny. The girls were just bubbling with excitement, showing each other what they had created.
Abby's journey at OLV has come to a close. She has grown, matured and learned so much. Her Faith is strong. Her confidence is high. She is well prepared for Middle School, even if I am not.


Lori said...

I love that your girls are growing up....and I hate it at the same time. My kids always laugh at how emotional I get at milestones. Abby has grown into a very beautiful and accomplished young lady. I am so glad you appreciate how quickly the time passes. You have some amazing kids on your hands.

the mom~ said...

Why or why do I read these blogs at WORK?!?!? SNIFF *blow nose* SNIFF *wipe tears* SNIFF... *little sob*
Ok finished now, back to bank telling!!!!!
Thanks for sharing even if it did make me cry at work! She is such a beautiful young lady and I am confident you and Steven have done an amazing job with her thus far! :)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful look back! This is such a big change for her coming up but I know she'll handle it well.
Wonder how Kippy will feel going to OLV by herself? Mom

Heather said...

I love the walk down memory lane!!! Abby is awesome, thanks for sharing that look back through the years.