Tuesday, May 31, 2011


We found out on Friday that James would be sitting on the stage during graduation - one of the top ten students in his class. (He is number ten.) On Saturday morning, we found out that he would be speaking.

What?? Why doesn't my son share these small, but important details? And why didn't I order a video of the ceremony?

We arrived at the SHSU Coliseum at 1:30 - an hour and a half early, as instructed. The students found their seats, then proceeded to mill about the coliseum floor - taking pictures and visiting with friends.

My mother and her husband joined us a few moments before the ceremony began and we watched as the students lined up by rows and filed out. As they exited the coliseum, we noticed that each student carried a rose and each row of students was connected by a ribbon tied to their roses. Interesting.

The ceremony itself went by in a blur. We cheered when they introduced the top ten students and listed their accomplishments, and we were happily surprised when the principal acknowledged James' attendance achievement. We listened to the clever speeches and then watched our son and his friends, some that he's known since kindergarden, walk across the stage and receive their diplomas. We cried as they cut the ribbons at the rose ceremony, separating each student from his classmates. We broke into wild applause as James took the stage for the closing speech, and we all cheered as the caps went flying into the air... and James' cap landed at the principal's feet.

We've watched these kids grow up and now they're headed off in different directions and to new adventures. They've come so far... and we can't wait to see what they'll accomplish next.

Congratulations Caney Creek Class of 2011! Good luck and God Bless!

Photo credit: David Mackey

Friday, May 27, 2011

Present and Accounted For

In my last post, I mentioned that my son, James, has never missed a day of school. Not one single day.

His goal of perfect attendance was established in sixth grade. He had just been recognized for 6 years of perfect attendance (not counting kindergarten) and decided that he was half-way there. Why not go all the way? An article about a local girl winning a car for outstanding attendance may have influenced his decision somewhat, but that doesn't matter. The boy had a goal.

For thirteen years, he has been in class or at school-sponsored events every school day. Never absent, never tardy, and never leaving early for a doctor visit. And for thirteen years we have monitored his attendance records, understanding that sometimes people make mistakes. There were lots of mistakes once he reached junior high - not surprising, considering each teacher was keeping track of 3, 4 or 5 times as many students. At least once a year we contacted the school to report errors. The errors were always corrected... or so we thought.

Last week, we attended the senior awards presentation. James received several awards , but we were surprised that there was no mention of his attendance achievement. I may be a little biased here, but I think that lifetime perfect attendance is something that deserves recognition. Otherwise, why would anyone ever bother attending more than the minimum number of days required?

James followed up with the school this week, and learned that his record showed an absence in 8th grade, and that he would have to contact the junior high to correct it. I remembered reporting that absence to the school on the last week of classes and receiving assurances (as usual) that it would be corrected. Only this time, it wasn't. I guess I should have checked... verified that it was corrected... followed up every time to make sure that people were actually doing their jobs. Silly me - expecting people to keep their promises... to do their jobs.

Today I made phone calls, speaking with people who claimed to be unable to correct records that had already been submitted. (If that is true, we have a seriously flawed system.) I worked my way up to the district superintendent's office, where I finally spoke with someone who actually seemed to care. She took my information and promised to help resolve the problem.

It's amazing how quickly things happen when you get the right people involved. Within an hour, I received a call from the high school principal. She had talked to the junior high principal who agreed that the record was incorrect and James really did have perfect attendance. She apologized for the confusion and told me that they were ordering a plaque for James. It wouldn't be ready until after graduation, but at least his efforts would be recognized.

I'm sad that he wasn't able to share his achievement with his friends on awards night. So I'm sharing it here... with you.

Way to go, James!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Senior Year

This is my son's last year of high school. We've been acknowledging it all year... last first day of school, last homecoming, last fall festival, last marching band competition, last football game, last banquet, last fundraiser, last class project, last concert, last test, senior awards night, prom. Every event was marked as their last by the senior class. 

And on Saturday, we will celebrate the culmination of twelve years (thirteen if you count kindergarten) of academic study and extracurricular activities.


My baby boy is graduating.

For thirteen years, he has attended classes - never missing a single day of school, he has maintained an A average, and has never gotten a bad conduct report. He will graduate summa cum laude, top 5% of his class, an AP scholar, with a UIL award and a President's award.

I am so darned proud of him, I could cry.

And I probably will.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

There's Something About Cats

I keep asking my husband to please remind me again, why we have cats. 

They really are worse than children. They require constant maintenance - food, water, and litterbox cleaning (yuck). Closed doors upset them and they will stand outside the door, yowling, until it is opened. They are always underfoot. Even when you are careful to avoid them, someone gets their tail stepped on. They sleep all day and race around the house at night, using sleeping humans as their own personal trampoline.

Everything is a toy to cats. They will steal things from my purse to play with and leave them floating in their water bowl when they are finished. (So far my blue tooth hasn't made it to the water bowl yet, but I'm keeping my purse zipped from now on.)  Body parts (toes, fingers, hair, etc.) are also great toys - perfect for clawing and biting.

We chose not to have our cats declawed and they have repaid our kindness in so many ways. The little furballs have practically destroyed the upholstery on my favorite chair and the carpet in our hallway and are now expanding their efforts to other areas of the house. Their most recent adventure... the box springs. My husband thought they were playing under the bed while he was trying to nap. When he looked under the bed, no cats. But then a face peeked out from the bottom of the box springs. There was a hole in the cover and they were playing inside. (Yet another item to add to my ever expanding to do list.)

Did you know that cats have a special defense mechanism? It's strongest in kittens, but works for adults, too. I can be furious with them and then one will climb into my lap, curl up and start purring... and I melt. It happens every time... and we still have cats.

Last week's MCP Project 52 photography challenge topic was Window Light. I was lucky to have my camera handy when one of the girls was enjoying the afternoon sun, and caught this picture. Notice that there are no curtains in front of this window. There's a reason for that.