Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"School Stories"

My girl, my fifth-grade graduate, did something for the first time the other day: she asked me for help with her writing. The thing was, she was determined to be chosen to deliver the class' graduation speech.

While I cut up veggies for chicken soup, she read it to me.

"Do you like it?" she asked right away.

"Do you like it?" I asked back.

"No, I'm asking you. Do you like it?" she asked again.

I wanted to be honest. But I was tired of talking about writing. I'd put in a full day already with 60 students. Yet I couldn't help all of them, and not my sweet girl. "I like some parts a lot," I told her.

And then she asked me. To help her "fix" it. So I had her cut out all the parts she didn't love, and to circle the parts she did. She cleaned up her intro and tightened the conclusion.

I didn't mess with it too much myself. Her little voice had to be preserved. So she did the work.

Here's the last part, my favorite. Bets on whether I'll cry when she reads it at graduation tomorrow?

"I had always been jealous of my big brother, Dominic, because he was older. He would go to middle school first. He would figure things out first. I would be the little sister who listened at the dinner table to all his stories.

Throughout the years, I`ve thought about it. Dominic didn’t make the least practical snowshoe ever. And he wasn’t there when Noah and Cormac stood on the cafeteria tables and sang, “You Belong With Me,” by Taylor Swift. He never dissected “odorless” worms, or read Purple, Green, and Yellow.

All these years I had been sitting at the dinner table, listening to Dominic, I was collecting my own stories without even knowing it.

Whether you are in Kindergarten or Fourth Grade, you are collecting your own stories. I hope you won’t be just listening at the dinner table. I hope you’ll be telling, too."

7 comments:

Kristi said...

Wow...how proud are you? I loved, loved, loved her speech...what a special young lady!

I'm definitely betting you'll be in tears! :-)

Thanks for sharing!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

OMG! That is so beautiful, Jennie. I teared up and she isn't even my daughter! :-)

anjie said...

Her speech was chosen! How exciting for her. It's a thought-provoking speech -- tell her I hope she has loads of fun making that memory, too.

Catherine Denton said...

Wow! That's incredible. Sniff.

Leslie loves Ashland said...

I am crying already. See you there.
Leslie

Anonymous said...

i am very glad you liked my speech.this is my comment.good bye.

prashant said...

That is so beautiful,
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