This is a long one.
As Robert is winding up his 8th grade school year at HMS, it takes me back. And I remember all the things with my girl, Michelle that were happening at this time just 2 short, (yet long), years ago. Little did we know at this point, we’d have less than 4 months left with her.
Really it started several months ago. 9th grade scheduling began to get underway. Keith and I were helping Robert think about high school classes. And we met with the counselor to make it official. I remember the day perfectly that we walked into the guidance office to do this with Michelle. She was late getting there. She forgot her time or got absorbed in her current class, or some such, I can’t remember. But when she arrived, she had a huge smile on her face, giggling of course. The counselor had nearly everything typed into the computer at this point. Because in typical Michelle fashion, she KNEW what she wanted. To be honest, Robert did too. And Keith and I are proud that our kids took their class choices so seriously.
Next up comes the 8th grade DC trip. Michelle went without Keith or I. She roomed with 3 other girls. She had such a great time and experience. So many silly pictures sent to me by various moms. Thanks Maureen & Jaclyn. One thing about Michelle, when she had an opportunity such as this, she made the most of it…she soaked it all in. And living true to her 8th grade superlative of “Teacher’s Pet”…she was interested in learning while on the trip. And from what I hear from my friend, Carrie, she sang. Alot. And Carrie had ‘the pleasure’ of sitting pretty close to Michelle. Carrie and I weren’t friends at that time. I didn’t know her at all, in fact. But she contacted me after Michelle died to tell me she was on Michelle’s DC bus and how her excitement was contagious and made it fun to be around Michelle and her friends.
Robert and Keith left this morning for DC…..Memories flood back.
Next up will come Confirmation. You see, I wasn’t able to attend Michelle’s Confirmation because it was the same night as Senior Awards for Thomas. So Keith and I had to split our parental duties and divide and conquer that night. Her sponsor being, Cathy “Chick” Halloran, and with Keith and her grandparents, and various aunts and uncles and cousins….I knew she was in good hands. And with her Daddy being her 7th grade CCD teacher the year prior, she was ready for this sacrament. But I missed being there. Now more than ever. Robert will make his Confirmation in a few weeks…..memories will flood back. No doubt about it. His Godmother, Liesl, will be coming in from D.C. to be his sponsor. Keith is the sponsor for one of Robert’s friends and will also administer communion. It’s sure to be a special night. Of note, all 3 of our kids chose Francis for their Confirmation name. The Chalks have a Francis trifecta going on.
Special aside: Last year, one of Michelle’s friends from Dance was confirmed and chose the name Michelle for her Confirmation name. We are still so honored by this.
Next up will be 8th grade awards and graduation. I was so proud of her that night. Michelle worked hard. And received lots of awards that evening. But what I remember most is shopping for dresses for Michelle for this night, the 8th grade dance, and her Confirmation. A girl’s gotta have dresses and shoes, right?! Just this past week, I did the same for Robert. He is all outfitted now for all of these important 8th grade events coming up for him….memories flood back.
Recalling back to my reference of missing Michelle’s Confirmation for Senior Awards Night for Thomas. Little did we know, that not only would we be attending just 2 more of these Awards Nights. But we would be attending every.single.Senior.Award ceremony from now til our passing. Our screening commiteee has been hard at work for this process this year. It is so hard to believe that in just a few weeks, we will be giving the SECOND annual Michelle Chalk Scholarship to a very deserving Senior.
The next event which will come inevitably… which at this point Keith and I are having a hard time fathoming, will be 9th grade Transitions Day. Michelle died 2 days before her 9th grade Transitions Day. Her mentor, VERY ironically, won the 1st ever MCSF Scholarship. While Michelle never made it to her high school orientation, she had a plan in place. She was going to spend the night with Maddy and they were going to ride their bikes up to HHS that morning. Plans change on a moment’s notice. Instead, Keith and I were planning her funeral.
So on August 2, 2019, Robert will “pass up” Michelle. It is at that point that Robert will experience all the things that Michelle didn’t get to and will never get to. It’s hard to fathom that. As Robert’s school picture will change each year on our family room wall, Michelle’s stays the same. Her 9th grade photo taken just a few days before she died. The one and only time HHS did photos that way. On macbook and schedule pick-up day. I’m sure glad they did. We’ve got that one last beautiful school photo of her. To represent her Freshman year at HHS….which never came to be.
Keith, the boys, and I miss Michelle like crazy.