This book, Grover Goes to School by Dan Elliott and illustrated by Norman Chartier, was published in 1982. My parents read it to me when I was headed off to first grade. My mom kept the book and I found it in a box of books she passed along to me when I became a parent. I have read this book to my daughter every year on the night before school starts since kindergarten, maybe even preschool.
She always asks me to do it in my Grover voice, and I do, and she laughs that same little giggle that hasn’t really changed all that much over the years.
This evening, the night before she starts her senior year of high school, she brought it to me to read to her one final time.
It was the first of the lasts that will mark her final year of high school.
I was afraid I wouldn’t make it through the book. Not only is this the start of senior year, but today was her birthday. Talk about a double emotional whammy.
While I was feeling all the feels, I made it through the book without dissolving into sobs coupled with demands to know just where the time has gone. I think we were all surprised, but it is hard to fight back tears and still sound somewhat like the furry blue monster.
I’ve been known to choke up reading about Grover’s journey of self-acceptance, authenticity, confidence and friendship in “normal” years. But I did make it.
I want her senior year to be one full of excitement (and education, of course) and I don’t want to get bogged down in everything being “the last,” said as if there’s some narrator with an ominous voice announcing just off stage that the clock is ticking and you won’t get another moment like this one.
But I do know that our time living under the same roof in the same way that we have been for a long while now is limited.
So, I’m going to get used to having that lump in my throat. I will become even more intimately familiar than I already am with the challenging duality of bittersweet feelings and moments.
I have promised myself to keep in mind the gratitude I have for the fact that I get to experience it all. I’m going to hug my girl more than she’d like. I may be proud of myself for making it through the book without crying, but that’s nothing compared to the pride I feel when watching my girl be the best version of herself that she can be.
I’m going to do all I can to make the most of her senior year, my last year with her at home.
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