Friday was a day off for Brayden and Mikayla (one of those absurd scenarios that they'll take a day off before having one (half day) left). We had originally planned on doing our Safari Sams trip that day, and then we discovered Brayden had a promotion practice smack dab in the middle of the day. Hmmm, guess a trip to Portland won't work.
Fortunately, Nancy offered to take a group of boys to their newly purchased lake home on Fern Ridge Lake (about 20 minutes west). It was good to get Brayden booted out of the house for some friend time, particularly when a lot of these friends will be moving on to Sheldon when Brayden goes to Marist =(.
Tanner (Nancy's son) - and Brayden being goofy. Apparently they got stuck in canoe without oars....or some crazy stunt like that. We keep trying to assure Nancy that even though they are headed to different schools, they will still stay close (as they have since pre-school). For example, this week, Tanner was over Monday to Tuesday and the boys spent the night on the trampoline.
By 6 o'clock, the boys were looking much more dressed up and spiffy for their promotion ceremony.
I feel like middle school is almost a "necessary evil". It's an incredibly awkward transition time of life (don't even get me started on how my own appearance in mid school proved this point). Cal Young has served its purpose, but it definitely did not exceed expectations in terms of overall experiences. I feel like Brayden never really found his place there. He was voted "Most Friendly" by his 8th grade classmates, but I didn't feel like he had the pals that he couldn't wait to hang out with each day. He did "fine" in his classes, but wasn't inspired to be exceptional. I feel like there's so much more to Brayden that wasn't tapped into.
As a result of all of these feelings, I went into this ceremony feeling absolutely "blah" about it all. I didn't really want to be there on the hot evening, and didn't feel like all of the pomp and circumstance was necessarily appropriate for getting through three years at middle school. Most of all, John and I were absolutely thankful that his days at this school are over and he's getting a brand new start at a school that have high hopes will challenge, inspire, and encourage Brayden to go beyond mediocre.
Another guy that will be greatly missed is this one - Solomon Faulkner.
And, finally, Tanner Zenke. All three of these guys I absolutely adore. They fit right in when they are over, and actually put Brayden to shame in the way they help out and communicate with me. Fortunately, at least for Solomon and Tanner, they will be participating in the same high school youth group activities through our church - and I do expect they'll all end up crossing paths more often than they might expect.
The obligatory family shot...
And, a very fitting summary of how the boys feel to be moving on to high school.