By: Sarah Powling
“Excuse me while I bawl my eyes out at preschool graduation”
In just a couple short weeks, my oldest son will be graduating from preschool. That’s great, right? Moving on up to Kindergarten, becoming (slightly) more independent. It’s supposed to be a positive thing. Good job Mom, you did it!
Except, I am an emotional train wreck about it. The thought of it makes tears instantly fill my eyes. I can’t sing his graduation song with him without immediately choking up. I close my eyes when I see the date on the calendar. What is wrong with me?
There is nothing that can close a chapter in your life like a graduation, and a preschool graduation closes a pretty large chapter. It’s one of the first graduations that you will ever have, and it officially closes out the “baby stage.”
Of course, my 5-year-old hasn’t been a baby for quite some time, but there’s really no such thing as a “baby graduation.” Kids just gradually learn to become more and more independent, and usually parents are so sleep-deprived and exhausted that it’s hard to notice. It’s hard to notice that all of a sudden they can dress themselves, make their own snacks, and change the TV channel. At the time, parents are just grateful that there is one less thing that they’ll be asked to do; but they’re so busy doing a million other things that it doesn’t mean much.
It doesn’t mean much, that is, until they realize that all of a sudden their child is 5 years old. Their child can make their own decisions about what clothes he wants to wear and what friends he wants to play with. Their child is about to go navigate through his own day–away from you for 7 hours–making his own choices and learning things his own way. Then, it hits you.
The chapter of you being completely immersed in your child’s life is over. Of course, he still needs you, but it’s not the same as his dependence on you for physical survival anymore. He is becoming his own person. He can get through his days without you being there with him for what seems like every slow-passing minute. He is older, stronger, wiser, and more capable.
He is not that helpless little baby anymore, screaming for food. He’s not the wandering toddler with the sagging diaper that needs to be changed. He is not the frustrated 3-and-a-half-year-old who doesn’t know how to write his name. But you will always remember that little boy. You will always know how far that little boy came.
And as those memories come flooding into your head when you see him walk through the auditorium with his little friends, you, too, can bawl your eyes out at preschool graduation.