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Annabelle Swift, Fifth Grader

posted Tuesday August 23rd, 2011

“5:30 is the new 7:30!” Ray announced cheerfully yesterday morning, as the entire family skittered through the house, getting ready for Annabelle’s first day of school.

Ouch. The old school started at 8:50 (9 this year!) and we live, oh, about 30 seconds away. The new school starts at 7:45 — across town.

Yesterday morning was okay, I think we were all running on adrenaline. And Sophie’s always ready to get up, no matter what time it is. Today was a little tougher; reality is setting in.

The reality is that I’ve got a fifth grader. How did this happen? Just yesterday, I was on, searching for a book I saw in Annabelle’s kindergarten teacher’s room called, appropriately, “Annabelle Swift, Kindergartener.” As books tend to in our house, that one surfaced in the bathroom the other day, and I stood at the counter and flipped through it, remembering my tiny, fuzzy-headed kindergartener.

Swift, indeed.

Annabelle was absolutely terrified to go to elementary school, sobbed when she got close to some big boys playing kickball against the office wall as we walked in to register for kindergarten.  Fifth grade boys.

Annabelle’s not scared of big kids anymore, even though she’s likely the shortest student at her new school, which begins in fifth grade and will take her (thankfully) through high school. She’s got the typical set of 10-year-old concerns. One afternoon last week we were getting out of the car at the mall for a rare day alone together when she told me she’s jealous of Sophie because Sophie doesn’t ever care what other people think of her.

I hope that’s always the case, I thought to myself, keeping my mouth shut to see what Annabelle would say next.

“I don’t care about everything they think about me,” she continued. “Like I don’t care what people think about my freckles. But I do care about what they think about what I wear.”

And so I was curious to see what she’d choose yesterday. Plain khaki shorts, plain blue Converse, hot pink tee shirt with a black cat on it, not-so-fuzzy-anymore hair pulled into a plain low ponytail with a tiny pink flower barrette. She whined, kicked and screamed over going to school, but when it came time to walk in, Annabelle was cucumber-cool; I was the one in tears as her math teacher closed the door.

I walked to the car — past older kids in purple knit caps, long skirts with strands of beads, dorky black-framed glasses — and wondered how Annabelle will dress in high school, after she’s been at this arts school for a while. I think at the core, she’ll stay the same girl: sweet, smart, a little neurotic, with a tendency toward plain clothes. But with a flourish or two.

Who knows. High school is a long way away. At this point, Friday seems like an eternity. And yet I know I’ll blink, and it’ll be Saturday; again, and she’ll be off to college like the kids we’ve been driving past on our way each morning to school.  

Way, way too early in the morning.

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Tags: Filed under: charter school by Amysilverman

One Response to “Annabelle Swift, Fifth Grader”

  1. MAN! Another beautifully written post…I love it. Your daughter looks very cool – way cooler than I was entering fifth grade! :)

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