Rose Ceremony: Sweet and Thorny

Waldorf_Rose Cermony 18The Rose Ceremony

Twelve years ago, Joe and I sat in the auditorium of the Chicago Waldorf School and watched our 6-year-old and his first grade classmates walk onto the auditorium stage with their teacher to receive a rose and be welcomed to the school by a 12th grader. The first graders looked so small standing on the stage, sweetly clutching their roses with the senior class behind them. Standing with them was their teacher, who would journey with them through the next eight grades. At the end of the assembly, the seniors introduced themselves to us and headed off to begin their last year of high school, while our first graders lined up and followed their teacher to the first grade classroom where there adventure would begin. We were left behind, with tear-stained faces, clutching the roses we had cajoled and wrestled from our first graders’ hands for safe keeping. I remember dearly departed Joe smiling at another dad and saying, “See you back here in 12 years.”

Today, twelve years later, I  took my seat in the same auditorium to watch as my 12th grader and his classmates presented each first grader with a rose and welcomed them to the Chicago Waldorf School with a gentle handshake.


At the end of the year, the first graders, a little taller and a little bolder, will once again meet the seniors in the auditorium to presented them with rose to take with them as they leave the school for the last time as students.

I missed sitting next to dearly departed Joe today, his hand tucked in mine, watching our son circle back to where he began 12 years ago. I sure wish he had come full circle with us, but when the Mom behind me made a shhing sound and a disgruntled mumble caught my ear, I knew he had arrived in spirit and was glad the seat next to me was empty.

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22 thoughts on “Rose Ceremony: Sweet and Thorny

  1. well….you made it through the rose ceremony in fine shape. lots to reflect upon. you have 8 months to prepare for the 1st graders returning the rose to their graduating mentors.

    • I did! And now we have a year of “lasts” along with Senior Projects, Senior play, final rose ceremony, and graduation to name just a few of the occasions this year. I’ll keep telling myself, “smile because it happened, not because it is over.” Cole first graders are a little wild and were not listening so (I’m told) he tackled them both to the ground and sat on them. Guess, he figured since that is how you show dominance to dogs, it would probably work with first graders. 😀

  2. i remember coming to the school for a few of Aidan’s programs and refreshments. was quite different than any of the school’s i have been associated with. it was a new experience for me. didn’t know there was such a teaching method.

    • 12 years ago (yesterday) Aidan started first grade with us, and while Cynthia dropped him off at a different school I certainly thought of both of them and sent a mental hugs.

  3. Oh Kb what a beautiful ceremony, and a 10 on the scale of emotional. I’m glad that you and Cole were surrounded by a community that loves you and hope you take some time to digest the day and give yourself a break. I can only imagine how hard these days are for “the mom,” but I have a big imagination.

    • This one was tough. But, I wasn’t alone there were lots of tear stained faced. Cole and I were both exhausted by the time the day ended–soccer game followed school. I am moving slow today.

  4. I waited to read this because I figured it would make me cry. I did tear up a bit—can’t lie. So glad that Joe showed up—-he was definitely there, wasn’t he? What a fabulous ceremony.

    • Joe always shows up when it about Cole. His love for Cole goes beyond the beyond and on a good day he is crazy about me too (the feeling is mutual) 😀

  5. Aw, shoot, where’s the Kleenex when I need it?? I just know Joe was there, beaming from ear to ear and probably giving you a loving pat on the back!

  6. What a great post. I must admit I found you through Blurt and started following because I love finding out what “day” it is. But I enjoy your writing too. This post really touched me. My cousin Meg attends a Waldorf school. She is in her sophomore year. I have always been fascinated by the concept of a group of children going through the years with the same group and with the same teacher. Being a military brat and now parent to my own kiddo (also a military brat) this seems an incredibly luxurious and appealing idea. I remember when Meg had her rose ceremony, I thought it sounded so wonderful and meaningful.!
    Good luck to Cole in his senior year. My Erik is in his senior year too. I know it’s a cliché, but where does the time go?

    • Hi Kristen,
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing about your niece. The Waldorf approach to education is certainly not perfect, but it suited our family perfectly. The continuity has been especially important for Cole during high school. When Joe died shortly after his 13 birthday, he needed to carry on with what he knew and be loved and seen by the teachers he had known since before first grade. The rose ceremony this year was almost surreal for the kids and parents who started the education in first grade.
      I’m sure Cole (as would I) would be fascinated with the life of travel and adventure that the military brat experiences.
      Goes by in a blink. In a blink ♥ Good Luck Erik! Good Luck Kristen!

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