I’d like to be pragmatic about this. It’s a preschool graduation. A GRADUATION CEREMONY FOR FIVE YEAR OLDS. My daughter is not going away to college, getting married or leaving me forever. She is a happy, smart, fun-loving girl with curls who is absolutely ready for Kindergarten next year. I am proud of her, and excited for the experiences that lie ahead.
So why am I on the verge of tears as I prepare to walk my little girl into her preschool for the last time this morning?
Saying Goodbye to Babyhood
Whether it’s true or not, I’ve convinced myself that her preschool years represent her babyhood. And now, it’s as if the world is telling her she can no longer be a baby, but rather she has to be a “big girl” all the time. She has to go to big girl school, and do big girl things. From my point of view, however, she is still so very little and cute…and carries her favorite blanket around with her. She is not ready to graduate from babyhood, yet, right?
The truth is, however, that she is ready for “big kid-hood”. She’s ready to move forward in her maturity, her academics and her abilities. The wonderful thing about 5 year olds is they are a sweet blend of baby, and big kid. They are capable of big kid behavior, yet they still need you, and the snuggles are available in abundance.
Leaving Our Secure Environment
Every morning that she attends preschool, she walks with confidence through the two big doors, and down the hall to her classroom. She knows exactly where to place her belongings, and how to prepare for the morning routine. She feels secure there. She has friends. She has teachers who love her, and whom I trust. She has gained self-confidence over the course of her time there. She has matured both socially and academically. I, too, feel safe and secure when I leave her there for the day. The knowledge that this is her last day at her little home away from home, leaves me feeling a little insecure. Next year we have to start over in a new school, with new expectations, peers and routines. I know she will handle the transition beautifully. She is ready. If only I could channel her child-like carefree attitude this morning. I don’t want to leave this safe, happy space! I don’t want to start over!
Time is Flying
How many times have you made small talk with a fellow parent and heard something along these lines? “Enjoy them now, because they grow up so quickly!” I have three children, ages 1, 5 and 8 and I already know this to be true. Time is flying. How is it possible that my middle child is already finished with preschool? I try to remember her as a squishy little 2 year old, and I can barely picture it. Thank goodness for the 10,625 videos and pictures we have taken over the course of her 5 years! I suppose some of my emotions about preschool graduation are merely a bit of a shock that we could possibly be here already. It’s a great reminder to me to spend more time with her one on one, while I can. I should take the time to play board games, to read and to go on special outings, just the two of us. Embed her in my heart at this age, and every age, for time is truly flying by.
My daughter is healthy, happy and capable. She is well-loved, self-confident and excited about the future. She feels proud to be an almost-Kindergartner. She feels proud that next year she will attend school with her big sister. She is happy to lead the way for her little brother to follow in her footsteps. I am grateful for the opportunity to watch her develop from a 2 year old to a 5 year old in a wonderful preschool. She is ready. I am grateful.
Today, as I prepare for her preschool graduation ceremony, I do have a little lump in my throat. It will be hard to say goodbye to this safe haven, where she has grown so much and consistently been so happy. I just need one good cry as I watch her on stage in her little graduation cap, and then I will focus on the fun that is ahead. I will thank God for His hand upon her life, with the certainty in my heart that He will never leave her.
Kindergarten, here we come!