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The end of school has arrived and with it we have come to so long and farewell.  So long to second grade, so long to the Brooks, Holbrook and Ashbrook.  The huckleberries have completed impressive milestones and received top-drawer accolades this year and I am so proud of them for all of their accomplishments! When I was a child school began in the fall, but now due to our ever changing weather patterns mixed with global warming and the elevated temperatures of the North Atlantic Current I think of August as Summer instead of Fall and school will begin again before we know it.

My suggestion to all the children of summer would be to wake up each day and smile!  Make the most of every day made up of no alarm clocks, book bags or homework.  Don’t wish the summer away waiting on what’s to come but make the most of every brand new and free summer day.

With the older two huckleberries, the words, “ride the bus” was simply not in their vocabulary and as a result, we have driven the morning and afternoon school route to their respective schools, every school day, for the last 12 years! Whew~  For many years we had three drop-offs and pick-ups at three different schools, everyday; however in doing so made a lot of friends in the parents of our children’s peers.  It wasn’t so much an extra effort, but more a schedule and career adjustment to ensure that they never had to ride the dreaded yellow school bus.

Bay was the first to break with tradition during the second part of kindergarten with his announcement after Christmas break that he wanted to “ride the bus” home in the afternoons.  Since the bus stop was only one house up at the top of our cul-de-sack we didn’t see any harm in granting his request and that did mean one less car-rider line we would have to wait in.  Two and a half years later, he still rides the bus to the stop sign and we meet him there everyday!  It affords him some wind-down time on the short trip from school to home every afternoon. Bay is quite the scavenger though, he is always coming home with lost objects, of no value to anyone but himself, but they makes him happy.  His radiant eyes are always open and on the look-out for whatever someone has left behind; under the seat or usually on the floor.  An eraser, a pencil, a pencil sharpener, a magnet, a little stuffed toy, you lose it and he will find it.  His little face just beams as he steps around the side of the bus with his little found object curled up in his hand and he says, “Look Mommy, look what I found.”

Another treat for Bay this school year was the “goodie-box”.  After receiving ten smiley faces on his behavior log he would get to visit the goodie box and I must admit his teacher did an amazing job of keeping it filled with anything but candy.  He is such a thoughtful and giving little fellow that his goodie box prizes were usually picked with someone else in mind.  My two favorite goodie box treats, hand picked for me, are the little gray stoneware angel and the colorful Santa figurine.  There were day planners for his sister, wooden fish necklaces and other treats he picked for brother and daddy, though sometimes he would indulge and pick a prize just for himself.

Noah finished his middle school years this week with great accomplishments and awards through-out the year.  He attended several choral festivals and competitions, most notably at Wingate University, receiving superior ratings on each one and participated in the Gaston County Wrestling tournament.  He was a member of the Beta Club, soccer and wrestling teams, Quiz-Bowl and Lion’s Club.  Such is my not-so-little anymore athlete as he is taller than I, Noah took on the challenge of playing dual school sports while on the roster for the SGCSA Flames soccer team.  Our weeks and weekends were very congested and hurried during those ten weeks.

Noah’s day began with school at 7:30am and lasted until 3pm.  From the afternoon ringing bell he made his way to his locker for a quick check of what was needed for studies, then on to the field for soccer practice until 5ish.  From the field he went straight to the gym for wrestling practice for another two hours.  Two days per week he went from the gym to the car to the next field for club soccer practice for another hour and a half.  Finally arriving back at home at 9:30pm to begin homework.  This schedule lasted and Noah endured through it for at least ten weeks.  I know he was exhausted at times and yet I never heard him utter one complaint.  He just kept pushing and plugging along through-out the school sports season.  All this time, while simultaneously participating on three sports teams he kept his grades at straight “A’s” and made the A Honor Roll.

There were times when soccer games and wrestling matches conflicted with the others practice so he would go from a playing in an entire soccer game across the county back to school for evening wrestling practice.  Noah was honored in December by Holbrook’s Athletic Director as the Scholarly Student of the month, complete with the traditional red Holbrook t-shirt and a certificate for putting forth such an outstanding effort to juggle schoolwork and two sports at the same time.   He was also awarded with the Spirit Award Plaque for wrestling and the Coach’s Award Plaque for soccer.

Making his way through his 8th grade year on top he concluded with the highest mark on his Math and Reading EOG’s and achieving high-school credit for his Algebra class.  I should mention that weekends were no break as we traveled to soccer matches dotted around the south for Saturday and Sunday SGCSA Club soccer games.  This is my not-so-little Noah and my heart beams with pride for him!

Livey-Lou is in a class all her own, a graduated class!  Congratulations to our little honey-bee on all that she has ever done in and out of the scholarly world! Our Olivia has the brain a genius and the will of an ox and both are evident with her perseverance and determination. She has always been an independent individual; an independent thinker and do-er.  She makes her own path and doesn’t look for someone to follow; definitely not a sheep.  Her hero’s are mostly dead poets and her idols reside in various author’s of works of art.  She is decisive, serious-minded, unyielding, extremely well read and yet she is one of the most settled individuals I have ever know, and I get to be mom!  What an honor~.

Olivia divided her high school pilgrimage between Gaston Christian and Ashbrook before graduating early in January to ensure she got a head-start on her collegiate career.  Olivia played soccer for twelve years, took dance and ballet lessons, learned to ride horses and play classic rock on her guitars.  She also became a master, under great tutelage, of the French language.  Her selection of Honors, AP and College Prep classes never failed to surprise me, yet they did amaze me; that all that work and knowledge could fit into such a tiny and petite brain.  She ended her high school years with a 4.67 GPA.  That’s my princess!

Wanting more than the customary high school job, she was assertive and obtained a job teaching French to children for Lango.  Once she left the doors of Ashbrook, her non-faltering next stop was Gaston College for more studies and learning.  She is continually articulating, debating, reasoning and cultivating.  Her little mind literally never sleeps and she is truly my little night owl.  She finished her first semester at Gaston with “A’s” in her English, Writing and in her EMT-B class, exactly as she had set out to achieve it.  Her only dispute of the system is that she must wait until she is eighteen to obtain the official EMT-B certification.  Never one to mince words, her thoughts are that if she is smart enough, and is capable enough then she shouldn’t be discriminated against just because of age as age has no meaning to Liv.

This summer Olivia will take her biggest leap yet, to step out, move away and become independent on a level she has never seen but can’t wait to experience.  She will leave for the coast, four hours away, to begin her life as a full-time college student.  She has it all mapped out, she’s smart like that!  Before she is finished with the next lunar phase of her life she will have obtained her Associate’s Degree, Bachelors of Science Degree and head on to her Masters. I have never lived without my Livey-Loulie under the same roof and I will miss her so much but am so excited that she has the opportunity to make her mark on this world!  There are weekends, holidays and up-coming summers to be filled with visits to plan so we will still have time together.

Proud mommy am I of my Huckleberries three.  Love you each individually as the people you are, have become, and will be.  My heart sometimes feels as if it will burst between pride and love!