Thursday, June 20, 2013 is a very special day. It’s the day Nirvana will participate in the promotional exercise for the 8th Grade Class of Bache Martin Elementary School. We parents were told not to call it a graduation because “8th graders do not graduate; 12th graders do.” And that is also why they do not wear a cap with their gown. I learned this earlier in the year during a meeting with the principal when she politely corrected me after I mentioned the word “graduation.” Thank you, Ms. Duperon. I say that with no malcontent because I like and admire the lady. Because of her, Nirvana is involved in the Emerging Young Leaders program sponsored by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Nirvana began her first school experience in Bache Martin’s Comprehensive Day Care when she was 3 years old. She told me yesterday how it finally hit her that she would no longer be in Bache; said it was the only school she’s ever known. Color her bittersweet. I feel the same. I’ve become close friends with some of the parents. We’ve been on trips together, gone to Home & School meetings, worked Spirit Day together, school bazaars, flea markets and a host of other things… yep, definitely bittersweet for me as well.
I remember so vividly the day Nirvana’s babysitter, Bren-Bren, kicked us to the curb. She said, “Tillie, I can’t do anything else with her. She needs to go school” – words I never wanted to hear. How dare she say that! I still laugh at my response (read on).
My wandering mind thought about my little Nirvana leaving the comfort of that cozy and nicely decorated house with all those neatly aligned collectible magnets on the refrigerator. The same refrigerator that held all that home made food Bren-Bren had fed to my baby. She was Nirvana’s surrogate grandmother. I thought about my girl going to school with other children she (I) didn’t know – children with snotty noses and bad habits. All the things that would take me out my comfort zone! I shook my head and said, “I want her to go to college from here! I don’t want her to leave you!” Well, needless to say, Bren-Bren kicked us out and forced me to enroll Nirvana in school! When Wayne and I first carried Nirvana into Bren-Bren’s house, she was just 3 months old – and now she was kicking us out!
True story: Nirvana is introduced to her first human contact that made her uncomfortable. I received a call at work stating she’s been crying and has the other kids crying as well. I let her cry until I got off work (I wasn’t leaving just because she was crying). When I walked into the room, I understood why the entire class had been upset – the teacher’s aide’s eyes were bulging and going in the direction of east and west! The kids were frightened out of their minds. The aide told me that Nirvana made everyone else cry because they saw her crying; said she kept repeating, “I don’t like the eyes, I don’t like the eyes!” I must admit that while I was speaking to the aide, I didn’t know which eye to look into so I stared at that nothing space in between. “I’ll talk to her and calm her down,” I said. How do you tell a 3 year old not to cry at something they’re afraid of. Nirvana didn’t want to go to school the next day – but she did. I heard her screaming as I walked out of the classroom and down the hall….
To this day, she remembers the eyes, but nothing else about the lady – pause – she seems well adjusted to me….
June 20, 2013, she’s grown into an intelligent (debatable at times) gorgeous young lady who I am immensely proud of. She keeps God in her heart and she wants to please her parents and her big sister, Muriel. I look at her and wonder where my little girl went – the one I loved picking up under her arms when she was small enough to do so. She tells me now, “I’m still here, Mommy, and you can still pick me up.” I chuckle when I visualize her shaving under those same arms. I laugh/cringe when I see her growing body has more curves than mine. “I don’t think so, babe,” I say.
But I love her. Have I been braggin’ on my kid? You damned right! Wouldn’t you? Haven’t you? Shouldn’t you? I love my kid! Thank you, Lord, I love my kid and I wouldn’t trade her for anything in this world.