On Fourth Grade and Wrapping Up a Decade

Evan at 6 Weeks

Evan at 2 Years

Evan at 4 Years

Evan at 5 Years

In just a few short weeks, Evan will be having his 10th birthday. Before that point, we will have his first day of fourth grade in two weeks. He’s growing up so quickly. I remember when he was so tiny. And he has always been so beautiful. He has also been my greatest challenge, from colic that left him crying for 6 hours a day during infancy, to the day when he was in first grade when we realized he may very well be smarter than all of us.

I remember the day we took Ev to be tested for public preschool and they told us that he didn’t need preschool, that he was ready for kindergarten. The day he tested for kindergarten, and he looked so damned small compared to the other kids his age. I worried about him so much because he seemed so babyish compared to his classmates and so I was afraid he would be bullied. Instead, he was babied as if he was their little brother they had left behind to start school. And that first day he went to school? I couldn’t stand the thought of him taking the bus. Instead, we drove him. We walked him in, and I sat in the gym as the kindergarteners filed out to go to their classrooms, Evan a full head shorter than the rest of the line. And as he walked away, so excited, and he glanced over his little shoulder and our eyes met, I cried. John had to pull me out of the school gym by the elbow.

Each year since that day has flown by so quickly. It isn’t fair. If I would’ve known, I would’ve memorized every giggle, every smile. Every scraped knee and every task mastered would be available in my mind for recall. Just now, I realized that this is the last month of his first decade here with us. A decade. Evan. And for the first time in the continuum of his childhood, we are closer to the day he will leave us than we are to the day he came into our life, and I am having trouble with that realization. My baby. My angel. My first miracle.

This is the year we have to decide if we are going to send Evan to the gifted and talented school in our area. If we do, his fifth and sixth grade year will count as his “middle school”, followed with three years of high school level work and graduation. He would be started college classes at fifteen. On one hand, I am thrilled that this opportunity could be his. He wouldn’t have to leave home to start college, since we have three universities within 30 miles of the house (Xavier, University of Cincinnati, and Northern Kentucky University). But still, it seems so short a time, and there are so many things to consider, the least of which is the $7,500-per-year tuition that comes with this prestigious school.

I cannot allow myself to rush this, the remaining time we have of his childhood. I know that as quickly as these years have passed, the rest will probably be even quicker. And while Evan is not without his flaws, he truly is an exceptional child. We have been so blessed.

Evan at 9 Years

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