pre-school (finger quote) graduation (unFQ).
I wasn’t sad when The Child went to kindergarten.
(The freedom didn’t quite transpire as planned, but that’s an entirely different story.)
I wasn’t wracked with emotion as she graduated preschool.
I didn’t cry as she departed for her first day of kinder.
I didn’t savor bittersweet moments as she started each new year of elementary school.
Lest I tear rotator cuff patting myself on the back so vigorously, I know it helped she didn’t cry either.
As I paused last weekend to reflect on the past six years (!), I marveled how everything has changed yet most of it (all of it?) remains stunningly the same.
She hasn’t changed.
Whether it’s the result of self-fulfilled prophecy or simply nature the person she is at 11 1/2 is virtually the same as she was at five.
She’s empathetic, kind and nurturing.
She’s precisely the same kid who announced in kindergarten: I’m going to be a teacher for special (needs) kids when I grow up.
It’s not so much I’d assumed she’d have shed her sweetness by double digits, I had absolutely no idea what to expect.
She still loves herself…and her body.
I wake each morning and am unbelievably grateful the world outside our door hasn’t conspired to change how she views herself.
She adores the person she is. She’s amazed by what her body can do and by how strong she is. She’s interested in what others are doing/goes along with the group yet still possesses the confidence to create her own path if it’s what makes her happier.
fear am curious if middle school will change this about her? I’d erroneously assumed peers and media would have already begun to break her spirit. I was wrong. I am thankful.
She’s separated from me.
Before she started school we spent a LOT of time together. Even after she went to kinder I was the main big-person in her life.
Around first grade her Dad started traveling a lot lot for work and the two of us spent even more time joined at the hip. Before school, after-school, weekends— all of it. Plop on top of all this the fact she’s adopted (Guatemamas you *know* what I’m referring to) and I became more-than-Mama. I became her safe person. A fact I simultaneously loved and which sparked me to worry she’d never entirely break away from me. She’s broken away and I could not be happier.
She prioritizes friends/others now over me.
She’s learned self-care.
She’s listened. She’s taken all the small stuffs I’ve tried to teach her since she was tiny and created her own self-care practice of sorts.
She’s figured out how to lick her forearms. She may not refer to it as such, but she’s discovered her drishti in the world and taught herself to maintain focus on it. She’s fallen, she’s bounced back, she’s learned to accept these experiences as part of life and not define them as ‘failures.‘
She’s better prepared at 11 to handle the impending stresses of adulthood than I was at three times her age.
I still like her.
When she went to kindergarten I will readily admit I believed the fun part of parenting was over. Somewhere along the line I’d decided four was young, silly, and filled with dance parties. Five sounded very grown-up and I assumed, once she had her own peer group, we’d no longer have fun together. I envisioned motherhood metamorphosing into all work and no play.
Sure, we butt heads now, but we butted heads when she was little, too. Our spats (AKA fighting like cats) just looked a bit different. I’m aware big, big changes are on the horizon yet at the same time I’d thought they’d have arrived by now.
I’m proud of her.
I’m definitely one of “those parents.”
The sort who believes holding a graduation ceremony for anything other than high school and beyond is mildly idiotic.
We as a society celebrate everything a little too much and, as a result, create generations of kids hooked on recognition.
All of that said I am unbelievably proud of this child.
She’s moved a few of times. She’s attended three different elementary schools. She’s struggled to get promoted in a crazy ass state overly focused on standardized testing.
She was squeezed and what emerged was better than I ever could have hoped.
None of the progression of this thing called
life elementary school has been the linear experience I’d envisioned for her.
And yet, circuitous path and all, it’s over and she’s thrived.