Monday, June 25, 2007

Pomp and Circumstance

Today was a big day in this household. Child Number Two, aged six, graduated from Senior Kindergarten. They held the ceremony in the school gymnasium, and it was fantastic. The kids were all dressed up, and wearing little mortarboard hats. They sang "I am H-A-P-P-Y" (to the tune of which, I usually sing "I am T-I-R-E-D" under my breath), and a very inventive number called, "Grade One, Grade One", a la Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York". Extremely cute. The principal handed out diplomas, and shook everybody's hand.

Is it wrong that I was one of the only mothers there who didn't shed a tear?

What's wrong with me? Am I made of STONE? My baby, the one I had to struggle to hold on to, the one who promised me faithfully that she would NEVER grow up, is growing up. And this morning, I felt nothing but pure happiness.

I only say this because this type of reaction is odd for me. I am a deeply sentimental person. I cry (out of one eye, and only if I'm ab-so-lute-ly certain that no one is looking, but YES, I cry) at the drop of a hat. I wept copiously leaving each of the girls at preschool for the first time, and then again when Numbers One and Two began Kindergarten... The day that Child Number One began Grade One, I had a terrible, snorfling breakdown in the privacy of my car, fearing the unknown for my child-- worried that she would be exhausted, that the teacher would be too hard on her, and that the big kids in the playground would be too much for her to handle...

Child Number Two is different. She is small, but she is mighty. She lives life LARGE, and at a whirlwind pace. Both she and her older sister are bright, attentive students, but for some reason, I don't have the same worries for my second daughter that I had for my first. This is not to say that my second daughter isn't a sensitive little soul; she absolutely is. But, for some strange reason, she just seems more... READY for Grade One. She has enjoyed Kindergarten, has learned a tremendous amount, and has made plenty of friends. But... she needs more stimulation. Just last night, while reading-out-loud the book her teacher had sent home with her, she asked, "Mum!! Why do the easy-reader books have to be so DUMB and BOOOORING???!!" We switched over to "Captain Underpants" instead.

But she needs more than I can give her here at home, too. While her younger sister and I would selfishly LOVE nothing better than to have her play with us every afternoon for at LEAST another year, I know how she blossoms when she's around her school friends, and she desperately needs to have more time with them. She will also, no doubt about it, be able to handle the longer hours in the classroom. The kid thrives on mental stimulation. The wheels in her head are ALWAYS turning... That Grade One teacher had better look out, because my child is going to suck her brain dry of information, and exhaust all of her activity resources. Maybe even within the first week.

Child Number Three and I are going to Miss Her... Terribly. She has been the instigator, the catalyst for almost all of the imaginative play that has gone on around this house for the past several years. She is going to be a tough act for me to follow as Chief Playmate, that's for sure.

I'm certain that on the day that I have to send her through those big school doors, on her way to her first FULL day of Grade One ("I WANT to take my lunch, Mum!! I don't NEED to come home!!"-- yes, folks, she's planning it all out already...), I am positive that I will go back to the loser cruiser, strap on my seatbelt, turn the radio up REALLY LOUD, and have a cathartic emotional breakdown of epic proportions...

But today, I was dry-eyed. I was elated. I was ferociously proud of that tiny little girl up there-- the first one in her class to solemnly receive her diploma, and shake the principal's hand (all the while, looking him RIGHT IN THE EYE, atta girl!!!)

Because she may be my baby... But she's ready.

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