Welcome to 5th Grade

Last week Sophie started fifth grade. Fifth grade. The last year of elementary school.

I don’t remember crying when Sophie started kindergarten. Maybe because by that time, she already completed three years of preschool. But for some reason, starting fifth grade was tough for me. I think because it symbolizes the end of an era; the end of the elementary, or kid years.

Next year, Sophie will go to middle school, which she is SO excited about. I’m not at all worried about her being at a large school and changing classes. We’re used to large from our former city life. But I fell apart when I realized this will be the last year I can take a photo of her at her classroom desk at back-to-school night.

Everywhere I look, the signs show she’s getting older. I see all the activities for children around town – activities like storytime and community festivals, events that she and I always attended together when she was young. And it makes me a bit sad realizing she’s now too old for all those things. The little kids are not her anymore. I like that she’s getting older, asking new questions, and wants to participate in all these new activities and challenges. But at the same time, it’s bittersweet knowing all that time has passed and she’s a full-on tween now. I keep thinking about Gretchen Rubin’s extremely moving story about parenting, which she described as this: “The days are long but the years are short.” This is SO true!

I’m so incredibly proud of Sophie. Two years ago, she transferred to a new school — in a new city — where she didn’t know a single person. She’s done so well academically, making new friends, getting involved in different activities, and adapting to her new home. I wish I was as strong as Sophie when I was that age.

We’re now into the second week of fifth grade, and I have a good feeling about the year ahead. I make this first-day-of-school photo collage every year so we can look back at how far she’s come.

I use Picmonkey to create this if you want to make one for yourself. It’s my favorite photo editing tool, and it’s free!

First day of school for my fifth grader.

Riding the bus to and from school has been great for Sophie, and life-changing for me. We love our bus driver! Sophie forgot to pose for the obligatory “getting on the school bus” photo. So our driver made her go back for the photo. So glad he understands these priorities!

Sophie’s school has a back-to-school night the evening before school starts so we can meet her teacher and see the classroom. Here’s the last photo I’ll take of her at her classroom desk.

Cheers to a great year of school!

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