Vicki has always been bright. She has always been eager to learn, and determined to succeed at whatever she put her mind to. Crawling wasn't getting her to where she wanted to go quickly enough, so she started walking at 9 months old. Speaking one word at a time didn't communicate her thoughts clearly enough, so she started speaking in complete sentences long before anyone expected her to. She learned the basics of reading pretty quickly, but once she really figured out that if she put it all together the doors to new worlds would open, she started really reading in the space of almost literally a weekend. One night we were reading chapter books to her, and the next, it seemed, she was reading them to us.
At this point we had just moved to Oregon, and suddenly we found ourselves faced with the fact that we had a four-and-a-half year old who was, as far as we could tell, ready for kindergarten. We talked it over with the school, took her in for the kindergarten assessments, and spent some time on a conference call with the wonderful principal, who took us through the pros and cons of starting kindergarten early, made his recommendation based on her assessments (which was to go ahead and start her), and left the final decision up to us.
And we've never truly regretted sending this little baby:
|with the backpack that's almost bigger than her|
off to kindergarten.
She was pretty much the tiniest kid in the school, but boy did she love it. From day one, school was very clearly her thing.
Over the years since then, Chris and I have talked about that decision we made for her, and whether or not we still thought it was the right decision. And we've always felt good about it, and pretty sure it truly was the right decision.
Fast forward to a week and a half ago. I got a phone call from the principal, the same one who helped us make the decision to start her early nearly six years ago. He said Vicki had been chosen by the 4/5th grade teachers as the outstanding student of the year, an award that is presented annually by the local Masonic Lodge for one boy and one girl from each of the elementary schools in our district.
|the sign in front of the school (the boy's name is on the other side)|
In that moment, I knew, without a doubt, that we were absolutely 100% right in sending her to school when we did. Not only did she hold up in all academic areas, but socially as well. She may be the youngest 5th grader in the school (she's actually younger than a few 4th graders), but she carries herself with a maturity that more than makes up for the age difference.
|with her teacher Mrs. T and our amazing principal Mr. L|
It's moments like this that make parenting feel so worth the effort. I don't believe that Chris or I did anything out of the ordinary to help Vicki achieve this award - it was all her hard work and dedication, but our award was getting to listen to her teacher's speech about why she was chosen for it.
And that, my friends, is a beautiful reward.