Every year, the last week of school, Mrs. Eagle and I (and this year Mrs. Robin joined us) have the kids make tetrahedron kites. Tetrahedrons, for those of us who don't remember our geometry, are four sided pyramids. You basically make them out of yarn and straws and cover them with tissue paper, stack four of them into a larger pyramid and you have a kite.
So today, the last full day of school and the last day I have the classes outside of my homeroom, was the day that we targeted to finish our kites and, weather and time permitting, we went outside to fly them. Only two periods, second and fourth, managed to get flying time, but part of that was because third and fifth (The Class From The Very Depths of Hell Itself) actually had one less day to work on their kites because they had to do "jerk werk" one day as payback for bad behavior. (It is wonderful to have a huge class set of very cool science magazines that you can make the kid read and answer questions in.)
The weather was pefect. Bright blue sky and fluffy clouds and a good breeze. I walked the kids out to the grassy area behind the school and turned them loose. I'm not sure who had more fun, me or them.
So I'm standing there on a slight hill, looking down at the field and at my kids, running around with their kites bobbing in the air. They're running. They're laughing. They are acting like little kids and not the teenagers they're gradually becoming. It was like I was watching the last gasp of childhood before they left me and became teenagers and 8th graders.
And I stood there and realized how much I truly love them all.