There was to be a group photo of the five kids graduating in a couple of weeks from our temple's religious school. There was some concern about whether N would agree to be in the photo; there was some concern over how I'd feel if he refused and they took them without him. (My temple friends are smart and empathetic.) I noted that I thought the chaos of dismissal time would be a bit of a problem for him; too much going on, definite overload time; I also said that having me there might help. So my friend who was taking the photo came a little early and got me from the Starbucks where I work while he's in class, and we went early to the shul.
When we got there, I went to the ladies' room while she and the others gathered the kids from class about 15 minutes before dismissal. By the time I'd come out, N was already among his friends, posing for the photos. When the moms suggested the kids sit boy-girl-boy-girl-boy, N immediately volunteered to be the boy in the middle of the two girls, while the other two held back. When we told them to stand on a bench and jump off as a group, he was the first one up on the bench, legs bent, ready to go.
To say I was surprised would be an understatement, though a mild one; he is very very comfortable at religious school, among the not-even-a-dozen kids in his age cohort. (See: graduating class of five.) Still, photos are an issue for him, second only to speaking in front of a group, which is second only to reading out loud to almost anyone. So, yes, I was surprised and pleased.
Fast forward to last night, when I was showing him some of the photos on Facebook. He rolled his eyes at them, pretending to be embarrassed, but he was really pleased. Then he said, "You know what's great about graduating from religious school? You get pulled out of class early to take photos!"
Aaaaaand explanation received. It wasn't the lack of chaos or the fact that I was there. It was, rather, the fact that early dismissal trumps general hatred of being the center of attention. Good to know.
[I'd put a photo here, but I didn't manage to get one with faces obscured. My apologies. They really are super cute, though.]