Should I Be Worried?

Aug 17, 2010 by

So, I’ve been thinking about fifth grade lately.

This is my fifth grade class. Just to give you an idea on the size of my town, this is ALL the fifth graders in it. It was my first year in Edina, Missouri, the place my dad finally settled as a physician after years of medical school and two different towns the two years after that. I’m on the bottom row, second from the right. My best friend Maggie is beside me. She eyed me warily the first day, but we were good friends after that. Next to her is Stephan – I rode with him to our orthodontist for several years. The first guy in the row above me is Todd. He helped me learn to parallel park the night before I tried for my driver’s license. Michael helped us too. You’ll find him in the top row, second from the left, and he will kill me for posting this, so please have my epitaph read something poetic from all my ramblings here along with, “Then she embarrassed her husband one too many times, and died.” Because it’s about to get worse.

This is the cover of the diary our fifth grade teacher had us make. I only had a few entries in it. And I’m not sure why this survived The Great Journal Destruction By Burial of my early teens, but it did. I still have it along with letters and cards and stories. We wrote in it during class, so I honestly cannot fathom where I got the sheer nerve to write my first entry with such forthrightness, but here it is for your perusal.

If you don’t feel like clicking on it and reading, I’ll give you the highlight:

There are two cute boys in my class. Michael Bohan and Tod Greg.

“Michael” is the only correctly-spelled first or last name in that sentence. The last sentence would have made my literary agent jump ship, I think, if she’d seen it before now. And finally, several of these boys became my friends, and I would just like to say regarding the diss on their perfectly pleasant good looks as well, I was ten – what did I know?

Michael never saw this entry, of course, because OMG I would have died. (Kind of like the time in seventh grade when I doodled I Heart Mike on my notebook paper in Math and then LEFT IT IN THE CLASSROOM where my friends found it, took it to him, and then told him they knew it was me!) (Though you know I was secretly glad that he knew…) But he did reciprocate at the end of sixth grade when he wrote this on my yearbook:

“To a very nice girl,” it says. “And very cute to. Mike Bohon.” I have an even better one after seventh grade when he told me he would probably see me over the summer but that he would miss me anyway and to “stay good lookin’.” AND HE UNDERLINED IT SEVEN TIMES. I really like that one.

I’ve been thinking about all this for two reasons. One of them is that those two fifth graders – after a whole lot of history that was quite a ride at times and didn’t always seem to be headed toward a fairy tale but that miraculously doesn’t have a single breakup in it – on August 16, 1997, they became this.

And the other reason I’ve been thinking about it all is because a couple years after this they had a little boy. They named him John Michael and put a ball in his hand as soon as he could grip things and introduced him to all the best movies like Aladdin and Karate Kid. And now the craziest thing has happened. Guess who starts fifth grade tomorrow?

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  1. I’m never the first to leave a comment for you! :) Once again, I am in love with your post. This only enforces what we talked about tonight. I love that you were able to have your Superman and reality at the same time. (I’m omitting the other example but you know what I mean!)

    I still cringe when I think about your journals, even though you’ve told me on more than on occasion. I think we (or most of us) go through stages like that…blacking out names or entire entries, ripping out pages, throwing the whole thing out. When I got older, I realized I still wanted to know what I thought at that time in my life, but to clarify that I no longer felt that way (interested, angry, etc) I wrote an entry explaining how silly that was and how I had moved on. I think I’ve even showed you that! :)

    I can’t believe John is already in 5th grade. I still remember sitting outside at your wedding!

  2. I know this is silly, but then English major inside won’t let it alone. I meant to say in the second paragraph, “on more than ONE occasion.” :D

  3. This is so sweet. Oi. Fifth grade. Thank you, LORD, that I did not marry my crush from fifth grade. I’ve never been more happy that all love stories are different! : )

  4. Carol York

    The only boy in our grade consistently through all the years was Jeremy Hunziker. There were 4 of us girls…He didn’t marry any of us… :-)

  5. You know how much I love this story. Every line of it. Even the ones you left out regarding all the angst of praying for Michael Bohon every night and asking God to bless him “no matter who he marries.”

    I’m so proud of you guys and the parents you’ve become.

  6. Serenity

    Nikki, I cringe when I think of those journals too. NO ONE EVER DO THAT!

    Felic, you’re not the first person I’ve heard that from. I also know happily married couples who are glad they didn’t know each other at this age or even in high school.

    And, Carol, what a coincidence, Jeremy’s brother is in this picture! One of those other cute boys I didn’t seem to have the eyes for. ;)

  7. Courtney

    Oh, Seren! I love your story for more than one reason… ;)This was wonderful.

    I can’t believe John is that big! I saw him at the pool the other day- showing off and doing “cool” stuff off the diving board. He’s absolutely adorable! Should you be worried? Perhaps…just a bit. ;)

  8. Kathaleen Winkleman

    Oh Serenity, this certainly brings back memories. I am sooo proud of you and Michael! This reminds me of my friend Vickie who wrote a letter to her niece as school began each year. It explained all of the happenings of that grade level in her life and always had some encouraging words. There is no doubt in my mind that those letters were a part of the impact on her neice as she moved thru the grades and into college and on to be married to a fine young man. They now have two children and I hear stories often of the memories they make as a family.
    I didn’t get into journals, but I sure wish I had, at my age – I could use some help remembering the details.

  9. ohhhhh how I heart this post!!!!! I am in love with your fairytale, your entire story, and am richly blessed with being in the know of Michaels side of things because…..I was there. He talked to me about you before I ever knew your lovely face.
    And guess what….that lovely face matches the lovely person behind it.
    “It’s a love story, baby just say….Yes”
    ADORE you!

  10. Serenity

    Tiffy, what did he SAY? Tell me at the lockers?

  11. So happy and wonderful! And, that picture of you in fifth grade? Holy John Michael in girl form!

  12. Andrea Cerretti

    Sometimes history is a wonderful thing in a realationship. Two of my sisters married their HS sweethearts. Being “kids” together is something that has come easy to them all thier married lives. I see and hear that in you and Michael’s story too. I saw it in your folks relationship. For those of us who met our someone later, we are just a little bit behind all of you in some elements of our relationships. You are very lucky, and no I can’t believe you are the MOTHER OF A 5TH GRADER!?!?!?!?! WHHAAATTT!!!

  13. I never get tired of hearing your love story. And I will never, ever forget that ridiculously hot August day when EVERYONE was wilting in the heat but you looked radiant and fresh and SO full of love! Thanks for sharing these memories. Congrats to you and Michael!

  14. Serenity

    I’ve always said John Michael looks like me, but he’s so much like Michael that most people see more of that side in him. And, Lori, I really do feel badly about the heat that day. So miserable – but still the happiest one of my life up to that point FOR SURE.

    And Andrea, that’s such an interesting perspective about knowing how to be kids together. I like that. :)

  15. I made Nathan stop what he was doing and come read this post. He grew up in a town of 4,000, which seemed small until I saw that picture of your 5th grade class.

    Thought of the day: you are awesome.

  16. Serenity

    Thanks for reading, Nathan! Of course, I’ve just remembered – there was at least one more fifth grader; he went to the Catholic School until eighth grade when he joined us. What about you L&WH – do you think you and Nathan would have fallen in love if you’d met younger?

  17. Love this post, love those photos, love it all. And you’ve re-inspired me to keep all those old journals instead of throwing them out.

  18. Tearing up here!! What a great love story!! Happy belated wedding anniversary.

  19. Bounced over from Wonders Never Cease and SO glad I did! I love what you have going on here, and I will certainly be back to read more. What a fresh voice you bring to the blogosphere!

    ps I used to teach 5th grade…be worried :)