Making the letter “A” with the marbles.
From the first day of Kindergarten to the last, Alan had a blast! And I enjoyed taking part in Alan’s school year equally as much.
There were lots of memorable moments, and here I’ll try to capture the best of the ones that I shared with Alan — in hopes that I’ll read this post years from now and be able to remember these exact images, expressions, and feelings.
On August 17th, I took Alan to his first day of school/orientation on when he met his teacher and made his first new Kindergarten friend – Noah. Alan was brave, even though he later admitted to being nervous to meet so many new faces. I hope to always remember him returning to me and proudly telling me about making a new friend.
On September 28th, I came to school for Donuts with Dad and stayed for the first day of centers. Alan took the bus to school that day, and I met him in the gym where the kids waited until they were permitted to walk to their classrooms at the first bell. I hope to always remember the expression on his face when I entered the gym and he excitedly stood up and flagged me down. That day he also laughed hysterically when his friends Julian and Tony climbed on my back. It’s a story he loved reminding me of all year long. 🙂
On November 16th, I came back to school for another day of centers. During bellwork, Alan’s lost a tooth for the first time. I hope to always remember the surprise on our faces.
On December 16th, Veronica and I read to Alan’s class and shared stories about Alan when he was the “Smartie of the Week.” I hope to always remember how proud he was to have his parents talk to the class.
On March 22nd, I volunteered for centers again. When we were taking a picture together, Alan gave me the warmest hug I can ever remember him giving me. I hope to always remember the feeling of that hug.
On April 26th, I came to school to watch Alan participate in the Q & U wedding. Alan turned to look at me and laugh every time the assistant principal – acting as the minister – told a joke about Mr. Q having to buy gifts for Mrs. U (I later found out that Alan wrote about that in his journal too). I hope to always remember how happy Alan looked when he laughed at the jokes.
On May 18th, I came to school with Alan in the evening for the end of year Kindergarten Program. It was an emotional night watching the video slideshow and realizing the year was just about over. Maybe I don’t need to remember how sad I was!
On May 23rd, I helped supervise Kindergarten Field Day. I hope to always remember how excited Alan was that his group started the day on the playground with me.
On May 25th, I took Alan to the bus stop in the morning and attended his last day of school lunch. I hope to always remember him peaking out the bus window and smiling to me, as well as him calling my name when he saw me at school while standing in the lunch line.
Other memories I’ll take away from Kindergarten include working on all the special projects with Alan and the Monday night poem homework assignments. Alan had to read and answer questions about a weekly poem, which we typically worked together on after school on Monday nights. His favorite part was competing against Daddy in the word search game we created. 🙂
Alan’s school year is now in the books! This morning I photographed Alan getting on the bus one last time as a Kindergartner. He was still chewing his breakfast as we waited for the bus. 🙂
At school, the kids had an all-grades awards assembly in the morning. There the kids also recorded a “Let’s Go Cavs” chant on video for the Cavs! The photo below was taken just before the chant by the assistant principal (and posted to Twitter). Alan appears on the very left edge of the photo in a gray shirt in approximately the 5th row.
Note: The Cavs went on to clinch their third straight Eastern Conference title by beating the Celtics tonight!
Later on in the morning, I stopped by the school to have lunch with Alan. Parents were invited in for a hot dog lunch on the last day.
Before I left for work, I watched the kids dance and play in the gym during indoor recess. It looked like they were having a blast.
Later in the evening Alan told me that he and his friends didn’t want summer to come because they like school too much. Good news for them is that first grade is just under 12 weeks away!
Alan and his classmates continued their busy month of May today at the annual Kindergarten “Picnic at the Park.” I joined the kids as a volunteer supervisor at their field trip to Highland Heights Park. It was a near perfect day weather-wise.
Parents arrived around 9:00 to begin setting up for the Kindergartener’s field day, and the kids arrived on buses around 9:30. Alan was partnered with Maddie for the day, and they were assigned to group 5. Natalee – Alan’s former preschool classmate – was also in their group.
I was assigned to playground supervision duty, and Alan’s group was sent to my “center” first — the best in the eyes of 6-year olds. Alan loved it, as the Highland Heights Park is known for its daring climbing opportunities.
The kids all wore their green Mayfield shirts, that read “I am a Mayfield Wildcat” on the front and “Class of 2029” on the back.
After finishing climbing, Alan and Maddie tried out the seesaw. They had a nice flow going!
Alan then rotated through stations that included tag, soccer, an obstacle course and even temporary tattoos before it was time for lunch and playground free time.
At lunch Alan sat with his best buddy Xavier. His Donald Duck and Goofy temporary tattoos can be seen on his left hand. 🙂
After lunch Alan proceeded to the kickball, chalk-drawing, hoola-hoop, and bean bag toss stations. Eventually I was able to leave the playground and meet up with him. He ended the day at the bubble station with Sam, which turned out to be a lot of laughs.
From there, the kids went back to school around 1:45 to pack up and head home on their buses. I met Alan when he got off the bus and we made a special Tuesday afternoon trip to McDonald’s for some extra time together. It was a great day!
Tonight after school, kids and their parents went to Mrs. Feldman’s room for what appeared on the school calendar as an “Open House.” When Alan and I got there, we found out it was a gathering to watch a video slideshow of the year in Kindergarten!
The kids loved seeing each other in the slideshow and had plenty of comments as the images rolled on. Parents loved it too. It was the first time I got to see the pictures taken of Alan and I during centers, Alan’s “Smartie of the Week” family day, and the Q & U wedding day.
Before the night was out, the kids were presented with a basket of candy, small toys, and glowsticks. And the parents didn’t go home empty-handed either. I walked away with a copy of the DVD we watched in the classroom, a photo album of Alan’s pictures from the year, Alan’s journal, and other drawings shown below — which I absolutely loved. I’ll cherish them as reminders of a wonderful Kindergarten year for Alan.
Alan made his Mayfield Instructional League debut today in the 5 and 6 year-olds “coach-pitch” division. He played great, getting two solid hits to left field and splitting time at pitcher’s helper and second base in the field. Alan was excited to receive quite a few grounders from the pitcher’s helper position. And he encountered best friend Grady while covering second.
Alan plays for the Village Vet Clinic team and the opener was against the Mo Vaughn Trucking team. Yes, that Mo Vaughn – the former Red Sox, Angel, and Met first baseman who slugged 328 home runs between 1991 and 2003. Alan and I both shook his hand in the handshake line following the game.
Final score: A 16-16 tie.
Today Alan went to Grady’s house after school. It marked the first time he rode home on a friend’s bus. According to Alan, the two classmates played on Grady’s trampoline and swing set until Mom picked him up. He was definitely proud to have a little taste of independence.
It’s also worth noting that Alan went through the proper approval channels to set this meeting up, including getting permission from his parents and the school office to ride bus #29 instead of bus #3. Earlier this year, when Alan made an executive decision to board Grady’s bus without informing anyone in advance, he was a bit surprised by the reaction of the bus driver and ensuing call to Mom’s work.
He’s come a long way this year. 🙂
A behind the scenes look at Alan’s MLB debut:
The day was made possible by Robbie and Jill winning an auction that allowed Alan to be in the Kids Starting Lineup. We found out the great news on April 17th. Alan was thrilled when I told him over the phone that day. I can still hear the happy sound in his voice while saying “Whaat!?” when I told him the Indians need him on the field before the game.
On April 19th Alan created artwork which depicts his family driving to Progressive Field to see him on the field. In the drawing, there’s a Hyundai (Daddy), Honda (Robbie and Jill), and Mercedes (Grandma Debbie and Papa) clearly marked on Alan’s highway.
On April 22nd Alan wrote a thank you note to Robbie and Jill and a separate letter to the Indians (pictured above), which we mailed to Progressive Field that day. Also on the 22nd, we bought his very first Indians jersey for the occasion — which he wanted to model with Tyler!
On April 24th Alan and I practiced finding all 9 positions on a baseball field diagram. We also reviewed throughout the week.
On April 30th Alan’s big day went off without a hitch. It was warm and sunny at game time, despite a forecast calling for isolated thunderstorms. It had also rained for most of the previous two days. Alan’s cheering section saved the day, since I was not positioned as close to Alan as I thought I would be.
On May 1st I received the following email reply from Chris Antonetti, after having sent him a scan of Alan’s letter & artwork and a recent photo:
“Thanks for the note, the letter from Alan, and the picture. It’s cool to see Alan sporting his Tribe gear and be so engaged with the team. I hope Alan enjoyed the Kids Starting Lineup experience yesterday. All the best, Chris”
On May 2nd Mrs. Feldman shared the photo of Alan running the bases with Alan’s kindergarten class! When I asked Alan how he felt about that, he smiled and commented “the whole class was looking at me!” I asked if that made him proud and he said “yes.” We also joked together that Alan must’ve left a cloud of dust behind him because it looks like he’s running so fast (Alan loves when we say that).
-Alan received two complimentary tickets for the game, which he and I used to enter.
-Alan found out he was assigned to 3B and Jose Ramirez upon arriving at the Terrace Club (the designated meeting area). Alan was very excited to be assigned to 3B because it was a position he had played during spring baseball. He told me that 3B was the position he was hoping he’d get.
-Alan and I entered the field from the third base line seats next to the Indians dugout. I exited the field from the door directly behind home plate. The kids left the same way they came onto the field.
-Parents had to leave the field a little early (before the kids) so Tomlin could start his warm-up pitches on the mound. The Indians’ field team thought we were at risk of being hit by an errant throw. However, just before the National Anthem, Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager played catch right next to us.
-After Alan’s photo reached the Indians website on Sunday evening, it was also posted to Indians Facebook and Twitter the next day.
-When I asked Alan to share how he felt about the Kids Starting Lineup experience overall, he said he was both nervous and excited. And, oh yeah, he’d like to do it again sometime. 🙂