Today, the first day of third grade for Holden, was hard.
Not because he has a new teacher—she’s great.
Not because he told me, as he put his backpack on, “I’m a bit scared, Momma.”
Not because he has a new room and a new team—everything seems fine.
Not because “my baby is growing up.” He is. And thank goodness. I’m probably one of the few parents looking forward to puberty because it will mean a resolution of LKS seizures.
Not because I heard other parents doing what I call “lucky worrying” (i.e., Will my child learn the right kind of math? Will the science curriculum challenge him? What if my third grader only reads at a fifth grade reading level, not sixth?). I’m sure I’d do the same kind of worrying if Holden was normal.
It was tough because, despite everything, there are some expectations I can’t let go of. I really want Holden to love reading as much as I did in third grade. In Miss Hurley~Mrs. Bishop’s room (Miss Hurley left mid-year quite mysteriously and Mrs. Bishop replaced her), I raced to get my seatwork done so I could go in the “free reading place,” a desk partitioned off from the rest of the room. In fact, I only have two vivid memories of third grade—my best friend, Susan Fritz, winning a poetry contest (I vowed to win the next one) and sitting in the free reading place devouring Judy Blume books. (I know, I was a bit young for those, but their taboo nature made me want to read them even more).
Last night, I read a story to Holden, and he “read” one to me (he had it memorized), then he told me to leave him alone, so he could read some more. He fell asleep with the book in his hand. He’s done this a lot lately. He’s been surrounding himself with books more—usually books he’s familiar with, the stories he loves. Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking that he’s longing to read as much as I’m longing for him to learn. Perhaps I just can’t imagine my life without the pleasure of reading and it pains me to think that he might (although most people with LKS do learn to read).
Although my mom can trace the person I am today throughout the various years of my life, when I look back, third grade was really when I began to recognize the person I am today. Much of that had to do with reading and writing. It will be an amazing day when I see Holden sound out words and read a sentence without having heard it once or twice already.
And I wonder what he’ll remember about this year of his life.