Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Graduate

I DID NOT cry at kindergarten graduation this morning, you all! Are you proud of me? For some reason the "ceremony" didn't feel very emotional--just adorable and very entertaining. I have a feeling I'll be sadder when Julia climbs off the school bus on Friday than I was today. Then it will really hit home that kindergarten is over.

Here's Julia getting the first of, most likely, many diplomas to come. Although if I have my way, I will successfully talk her out of pursuing any kind of degree beyond her B.A. Unless it's some kind of degree that will actually result in more income than her student debt load. What? I'm just being practical.

Do you like her handmade cap made from a paper
bowl attached to a piece of decorated paper?

Below are photos of Julia on her first day of kindergarten last September, and this morning, the day of her kindergarten graduation.

First day of kindergarten, September 2009

The day of kindergarten graduation, June 2010

She hasn't changed very much physically since last September, but the other sorts of growth, of course, have been enormous. It's incredible, really, to think about starting off as a preschooler working on letters and numbers, and ending the year reading chapter books and doing math. Talk about a whole new world! It's amazing. Not to mention all the other things you learn in kindergarten, like how to ride a school bus and when you have to focus and hustle instead of gazing distractedly around the room and how to avoid discussing your birthday party at school because you had to pick only three girls from your class and the other girls might feel hurt.

It's a journey, people. We don't remember it anymore, but it's a monumental journey, starting school at age five and coming out nine months later at six, familiar now with the new world of elementary school. There are a million little moments of learning and experience that make up that journey; we could never count them all.

And, come to think of it, that description is just as applicable to the journeys of us new school-ager moms. We started off the year--well, I did anyway--thinking the bus seemed huge and the room wasn't childlike enough and the rules seemed harsh and the teacher seemed too no-nonsense. Then, via a million tiny moments of learning and experience from September to June, we learned how to be moms of elementary schoolers: that the bus driver is sweet and knows them all by name; that the room is just fine--different from how we remember kindergarten, maybe, but really, just fine; that the rules work in our favor as parents; that the teacher holds a perfect balance between loving and strict and can keep 23 five-year-olds in line without losing her temper, which, as parents, we know is an amazing skill.

Come to think of it, I learned an awful lot in kindergarten this year.

Remember this sign, on the wall of "Advice from last year's kindergartners" at the school Open House last fall?

"Don't be scared."

It was good advice. For moms and kids alike. It was a good year.

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