Damien’s Valediction

Was short and sweet- and I did not cry, although I had a BIG lump in my throat. They had their art work up on the walls of the hall, and they each had to bring a baby picture which was also up, and at the back of the hall there were two tables laden with snacks and nibblies for the parents and grandparents. My mom and I arrived on time, but I should have known to go early to get good seats! The ceremony started with the grade sevens walking into the small hall singing, and then they did a couple more songs- all themed around kids and the future- then there were a few “jingles” that the kids had written about their school, a couple more songs, and then a little poetry. As soon as Damien gives me the words to his I’ll post them- he wrote his himself and I was quite impressed. He’s not big on public speaking and performing though, so whenever he has to do things like this he looks so serious that people think he’s angry! Then the principal handed out a few certificates and prizes and Damien got a book prize for his oral Afrikaans! After the ceremony the kids moved outside to a table laden with pizza, sweets and cold drink with candles and place names! When I went out to give Damien his camera they were having a sweet war- I had to duck a couple of times! Of course after the sweets and coke they went berserk… hyperactivity level 9! Luckily we’re all used to our kids behaving like that (most of them are adders) so we left them to go bananas for a while. Then while my mom and I were sitting outside, I looked out over the playground they were on (the property slopes so they were a floor below us) and in the double storey house next door were two teenage girls and the boys were all climbing up on the school fence to talk to them- I say talk but it was more like more like giggling and shouting and running away. And being teenage girls they were lapping it up. I gave them a few minutes to play silly buggers and then I called Damien over to me- and I said “that’s enough- this is not ‘American Pie’!” He giggled and said “ok mommy”. At the time I was looking down at him over a wall and as I turned to walk away again I caught sight of two dads who were standing down there too- and they were smirking and snorting guiltily into their wine glasses, which sent my mom and I into gales of laughter! I took several pictures- and he took lots of pictures- and my dad took a couple of us together, and as soon as I get them scanned (‘coz I still like using 35mm) I’ll post them. Today is his last day at school- a lot of kids aren’t even going today, and we got their reports last night just in case… but since there is no way in hell I can leave him home alone- he maar had to go to school. I am fetching him early though, so it at least feels a little special. Then he’ll spend the day with my mom at her work ‘coz she’s practically alone there today and no-one will be disturbed. That’s one of the hassles of working as a contractor- I can’t take Damien to work with me like I did at my previous job.
Oh my goodness. My baby has finished primary school. He’s all growed up now. Last night I noticed for only the second time that even though his voice is a lot bigger and deeper than it used to be- he is now going through that clichéd squeaky voice “breaking” phase. It’s mostly okay when he speaks, but when he giggles he still sounds like a girl! It’s heartbreaking to see him so big. It still astounds me! I ‘spose I must stop referring to him as my “baby” now. I think I’ll start using DS instead. They’re his initials and it’s an email acronym for “dear/darling son”. Whaddya think?

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