Her Last Rodeo

posted Friday March 28th, 2014


The phone just rang, and I held my breath.

Ms. X is the only person in my phone with the “xylophone” ring tone, and even though Sophie’s been out of kindergarten for five years, and Ms. X has become a dear friend — meaning the call could have as easily been about margaritas as a skinned knee (or worse) — I still instantly go directly to, “Oh shit, what happened!?” in a heartbeat when I hear that ring tone.

Turns out, she was calling to see what time Sophie’s Special Olympics cheerleading competition is tomorrow, because Ms. X is the kind of person who will drop everything on a Saturday morning to drive across town to see one of her kids perform.

I love her. And so does Sophie. Barely a school day has gone by in the last six years that Sophie hasn’t gotten a cuddle from Ms. X, lotion on her chapped skin, a quick chat or a longer one. Ms. X is her touchstone.

After we’d talked schedules and directions, Ms. X remarked that she’d seen Sophie this morning — and it hadn’t gone well. Today was the kindergarten rodeo, a big deal at Sophie’s school. Every year each kindergartener paints a hat (see photo above of Sophie painting hers, many moons ago), makes a horse and spends a Friday morning playing games outdoors. Then they don the hats and “ride” the horses through each classroom in a parade.

When Ms. X arrived at Sophie’s classroom, she gave her an extra big hug and announced, “Hey, it’s your last rodeo!”

At which point Sophie opened her mouth and, as Ms. X put it sadly, “began to wail.” Totally inconsolable.

We talk about junior high a lot at home. Sophie knows she’s going, knows she’s leaving. She’s excited. ┬áIn the abstract.

Today, we think, it got real for the first time.

“She wanted to know if I’ll come visit her at her new school,” Ms. X said.

The answer, of course, was yes.

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3 Responses to “Her Last Rodeo”

  1. Sophie is a lucky duck to have Ms. X in her life!

  2. sniff. Hugs Sophie. And you are of course, cute as a button in that painting picture.

  3. This is my first time on your blog. I’ve come over from Pudge and Biggs.

    Such a difficult time heading into Jr High, for ANYONE! Ms. X sounds like an amazing teacher! What a blessing for Sophie to have around all those years.

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