I’m not doing it. I’m not going to get all sentimental and sappy about Pre-K graduation. It’s Pre-K for chrissake. Next year, he’ll have kindergarten graduation. Five years later, there will be elementary school graduation. Then Middle school graduation. High School. College. Grad School. Law school. (Med school?) Y’know. Lots of graduations. This is Pre-K. I’m not going to get all sentimental about it.
Except I totally am.
When it’s your first (or only, in my case) every milestone is something. I would totally show a stranger the picture of his two missing teeth if that wouldn’t seem really creepy. And I would tell anyone that he is going to kindergarten next year — as if it’s some out of the ordinary news item. No! Really? A nearly 6-year-old is going to kindergarten? Stop the presses.
He’s been at his current school/daycare since he was 13 months old. He’s been in the same Pre-K classroom for two years. He’s grown up with these kids since they were all babies. They piss each other off and love each other to death like siblings. And in three days, they all part ways and go to different places. Not one of them is going to the same school as another one. We (the parents) all toyed with various private schools and keeping them together. The idea was so dreamy, but when it all shook out, the result was five best friends going to five different kindergartens.
The Who is as ready as I’ve ever seen a kid be for kindergarten. He is chomping at the bit to learn new things, to practice skills, to read and do math and color and try out new toys and games in a new space. The grounds of his new school is as familiar to him as all the other things in the neighborhood where he’s lived his whole life. The playground, just a block from our house, is “our” playground and he’s been going there since he was just a few months old. But, still, I suspect there will be some bumps as he transitions. New kids. New teachers. New rules. It can’t be all puppies and rainbows. But maybe that’s my anxiety I’m expecting — not his.
I am going to miss the ease with which I come and go at his current school. Lateness is not a problem ever. Pick-up time is whenever I want it to be. If I want to bring in cupcakes, I do. If I want to visit in the middle of the day, I do. If I miss him and just want to call the classroom to say hello, I could. (I never have, but I could. In fact today, I very seriously contemplated calling the classroom from the middle of the backpack aisle in Target to see if they would ask him if he’d prefer Spiderman or Minions. I fortunately realized how insane that was and stopped myself, but I totally would have been allowed to do it if I had wanted to.) Despite finding some things about the administration problematic, I love this school. I love the parents in his classroom and I love his teacher. I feel genuinely certain that she loves my kid. I’m going to miss all of it.
Tomorrow, we pick up my mom at the airport and then bring The Who to school for his last official day. Thursday, we’re off to set up my art room at summer camp. Then Friday is graduation. I’ll pack up his cubby, take home the nap blankets that have been in that very same spot for over a year, peel his name-tag off, and say goodbye to what has been a long (but totally short) 4 and a half years.
Leaving this school and going to the one where he will eventually turn ten years old is like stepping into another dimension. I first had an infant, then a baby. A toddler. A preschooler. A Pre-k kid. Now: school age. It’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax. Here we go.