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.  In 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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