A letter to the class of 2012

A letter to the class of 2012

Zora Hurst

Dear Class of 2012,

This is a letter from your first little siblings.

From kids your parents said you had to be nice to or else.

We watched you, only a year older but infinitely wiser.

You pioneered kindergarten, blazed down the sidewalk without training wheels, learned the intricacies of stencils and drawing five-point stars.

You were the first to lose baby teeth.

It’s always been like that, though. The undoable things, the impossible–you did them. You broke bones and let us sign your casts with misshapen hearts. You taught us how to make Eggo waffles and take shortcuts on the walk home. You yelled at us so that our parents wouldn’t because we were not supposed to be in there. You were the first to make ‘real valentines’ and explain the difference between liking someone and like-liking someone.

When you left our cozy nest of elementary school for junior high, there was a rift. Growing pains and hormones that rearranged at inopportune times… you were different. First hand-holdings, first shy swaying (a middle school dance is a painful, torturous thing. And the sweating.) with clammy hands and butterflies in your stomach… you relayed these to us breathlessly.

You made things look easy.

You’ve always been more grown up. You learned how to french-braid first, how to throw a spiral, how to beat the odds of eenie-meenie-miney-moe. You learned the grades of high school, and laughed when we couldn’t spell sophomore.

You told us the pros of one standardized test over the other, lent us your review books, gave us your old AP Euro notes and AP Chem lab notebooks and recommended teachers you loved. You nodded to us in the halls and reminded us to lighten up. How to navigate sub sandwich lines, thursday advisory schedules, acceptable hallway behavior… we learned it from you.

We’ve seen you struggle through standardized testing, wrestle with college applications and smile beatifically because you were accepted.

So, we’ll be watching you again.

And copying you again.

You’ll walk across the stage and our hearts will swell in our throats. Our first heroes (you wouldn’t let kids you didn’t like beat us at tetherball), first confidants (we never meant to break anything–it just happened), first class we’ll look for next year at registration, hearing your laughter and feeling your warmth like a phantom limb.

Perhaps a few tears will be shed.

You’re showing us, again, how to handle success with grace and poise. Your jokes were always funnier than when we tried to re-tell them. Your handshakes will be firmer, weightier. Your smiles will be blindingly brilliant, the same as your minds.

We’ll miss you. We’ll mull over what to write in cards with catoonish diplomas on their glossy fronts. We’ll look over to your usual place in the hallways and, at seeing your absence, reenact your antics.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Good luck, Class of 2012.

You’ve left big shoes to fill, but we’re still growing.