Monday 26 Sep 2016

Grade Five Grad
Jennifer Flaten

I am on a mission. A mission to finds photographs of my children. Specifically, pictures of my girls between the ages of two and five: I can’t even remember when they were that young.

Thank goodness for photographic confirmation of those years, because, honestly, those ages are a bit blurry in my memory. Hey, I had three small children all under the age of five, I am lucky I am not in a white coat, with fancy buckles and long wrap around arms.

Anyway, I am in the basement pawing through my extensive collection of family photographs. They are stored with the utmost of care in a plastic bin that weighs roughly fifty pounds. I like to take pictures.

Welcome to my photographic vault, everything heaped in on big bin in no particular order. Yep, no fancy scrapbooks for me not that I have anything against scrapbooks. In fact, I think many are quite lovely.

I would love if someone made me one or sixty. Yes, I have that many pictures. No, I will never get around to putting them in the scrapbook, which is why I need someone to do it for me.

I like the idea of scrap booking, but actually sitting down and doing it, nope, not for me. My attention span is too, hey, is that the ice cream truck.

I bet you are thinking I am having trouble finding the pictures I want because of the mess well you would be wrong. I’ve found many pictures from that era. The problem is many of them are, well, crappy.

A cheap camera and active children make for some y bad pictures. Most of the pictures contain some sort of blurry image that might be my kid or it might be Bigfoot. Wherein the problem lies, the pictures aren’t for me, they are for the slide show presentation at the fifth grade recognition ceremony.

Fifth-graders, recognition, for what, you ask. Is it for something spectacular like discovering a cure for the common cold? Is it for groundbreaking work in some obscure field? Would you believe recognition for breaking a world record, Hula Hooping?

None of the above or so I understand. The ceremony is to recognize them for their amazing accomplishment: completing fifth grade. Yes, in our wonderful state, Wisconsin, everyone gets an award for showing up. Now, we celebrate something as mundane as finishing fifth grade.

I know, I know, I don’t understand the pressures of fifth grade. Oh my goodness, will it be tacos for hot lunch or a hot dog. Will the math test contain fractions? Can you believe this happening in America?

It’s not as if the kids are juggling a full-time job, a part-time job and school. Well, maybe some are juggling jobs. I think not, their job is to go to school.

My job is to get them to school, since they aren’t old enough to drive and I wouldn’t make my worst enemy ride the bus. Along with helping them with their homework, even if it contains “shudder” fractions.

So really, this recognition ceremony should recognize me. That’s right, it’s all about me; who better. I hope someone at the ceremony is taking pictures, good pictures so I can add those photographs to my bin.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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