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.
Thanks for sharing your precious memories. Amber [24 now] and I were watching The Wiz yesterday. I broke into song with “If You Believe” and “Home” and shared with her that they were pieces from my”repertoire” that I would sing to calm her when her re-flux gave her extreme pain…beginning at 9 weeks of age… and caused her and me many sleepless hours. Thank God for music that soothes, time that heals, and precious memories that make our hearts glad.Thank God for my ” precious, brown jewel” and your “Nirvana”.Thank you for your encouragement and love. Ttyl.
My Dearest Tillie
As I sit here in the middle of the night eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Ice Cream reading your blog bought tears to my eyes. It was written with such emotion that I am sitting here with my eyes closed big time crying (you know me) reminiscing when I went thhru the same ordeal with Shanice.
I agree with your principal, that a chikd does not graduate until the primary education has been completed. I’m not saying not to reward then but there should be some limitations .especially if your finances can not jusify it.
Over the last couple of months , I have watched my family and friends spend so much money on proms and graduations
. I have one dear friend who’s beautiful daughter was accepted to Brown University. Her mother Is extremely proud of her as I am. To show gratitude, her mother spent $800 on her prom dress and rented a Hummer Limousine for the prom. She spent another $500 on the graduation dress and gave her such an elaborate graduation party at the West Grove Country Club( what an elaborate facility). I’m not player hating but I am Annoyed because she asked me to loan her $367 to have her PSE&G (gas & electric) services restored. Then five (5) days later and additional $600 for her mortgage. I know your saying , why did you loan if to her but what was I supposed to say, she has no one else in her life who will assist her. I know she will Happy piece meal it back ($25 here $10 there)
Where are our priorities in the African American Communities? . Why must we still try to compete with the Jones? Why must we put on a show for our friends and family. Why on Monday we are eating caviar and Tuesday we are looking under the cushions for change to eat? Ok I guess it’s enough analogies
Signing out for now but before I go:
You have such a wonderful and charismatic style of writing
I am so very proud of my girl N and all of her accomplishments with the help of God, Mr. Wayne, You and of course the encyclopedia ! .