We are Catholic moms who follow the basic tenets of Attachment Parenting. We are different personalities; we're not clones, so you should see some varying opinions on different subjects. Join us as we continue on this exciting ride known as Catholic Mothering!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Ribbons for Milestones

We have a backdoor that needs to be opened with a key, which we keep hanging on a hook by the door. The key has a green ribbon on it. It is all shredded and wearing to a thread, because it has been on that key for five years now. Before that, there was a baby-blue ribbon on it. Next week it will be replaced, probably by a dark blue ribbon.

What is with these ribbons? Well, when Declan, our older boy, was born, my husband discovered in himself a hitherto unsuspected cave man instinct. He felt he needed to protect the dwelling from any dangers, so he replaced the back door lock with a new, better one. Hence the need to hang up a key by the door. My husband's parents were visiting their first grandchild and my mother-in-law brought some Goody Supremes (I think they're called--chocolate, caramel and pecans, mmmm) and decorated them for the christening with light-blue ribbon. A charming and delicious idea. Hunting around for something to hang the key with I grabbed one of the ribbons and used that. It hung there for almost five years, getting thinner and shreddier...

When Declan was five we decided to keep him in his small, nurturing private preschool for "kindergarten" three days a week. At the end of the year I was delighted to find a lovely certificate, with sweet vignettes of little children doing kindergarten-type things, in the bottom of his backpack. This was his "Kindergarten Diploma". I called the director and thanked her for such a simple, fuss-free way to mark the transition. One of the things I love about this school is that they have stoutly resisted the trend towards escalation in all things at the preschool level. The children play with blocks and dolls instead of computers and have story books, not work books. We felt this was a perfect thing for Declan because he could never have tolerated the kind of "pomp and circumstance" that a kindergarten "graduation" would have entailed, thus avoiding a tearful, stressful day. The green ribbon which encircled this "diploma" replaced the baby ribbon on our key as our boy advanced from baby days to the world of school.

Now he is almost eleven, and finishing fifth grade. Around here that means it is time to move on to "intermediate school" with all the thrills and apprehensions belonging to that level. We are happy that he will be moving on to an excellent pilot program which seems perfectly geared to meet his needs. Yet it is bittersweet for us too, because when he left Kindergarten we had no idea what a rough journey we were in for. We have all grown in ways we could never have dreamed of. Many dreams have been left behind; others have changed, but we are looking towards the future with hope and confidence.

So next Tuesday I will pick Declan up from school at noon. We will proceed to his favorite pizza restaurant where we will join his grandparents and two favorite aunts for a celebratory lunch. Declan will receive a special gift tied with a dark blue ribbon, which I will tuck into my bag and take home to tie onto the back door key. We will watch this ribbon, too, grow thinner and shreddier as our son thrives and grows older, more mature and ready to move into the wider world.

Who knew all these thoughts and feelings could be evoked by a piece of thin, shreddy ribbon?