Friday, 20 June 2014

Preschool Graduation

Today was a beautiful, impossibly hard day.  My baby graduated from preschool.  It's official, she is now a "Kindergartener"!  I'm not sure how five years have slipped through my fingers so quickly.  She still very much feels to me like that baby that I brought home from the hospital after an exhausting nineteen hour labour, happier than I'd ever been in my life.  And yet in the same moment she is a grown up girl with thoughts and opinions of her own who understands the world better than I do sometimes.

This morning was so incredibly special.  Sydney's teachers, Jen and Carmen, went to so much work to make the graduation ceremony such a special time for the children and families.  It felt surreal walking into school this morning, seeing all the other Mommas and their kids for what would be the last time on a daily basis.  We hugged each other and cried and then another Momma would come along and we'd do it all over again with her.

I miss that precious place already!

Jen and Carmen had a couple of hours with the children in the class together before they brought them upstairs to the grad ceremony donning their little grad caps.  They made shakers with the wee water bottles from Trader Joe's that Sydney and I have been bringing to class all year long to save for a special project.  It seemed fitting that today was the day they decided to break them out!

The kids had one last circle time together and then watched their all time favourite 'Chicka Chicka Boom Boom' on video in class, a special request of theirs.

We headed upstairs to the ceremony where Syd was delighted to see both Daddy and Zach waiting to see her graduate.  We shared a potluck lunch together and then one by one the children were called up to the podium to get their medal, a personalized card from Jen and Carmen and a beautiful class picture to take home. 

Carly, Sophia's Mom, made the most incredible ice cream sundae cake for the occasion, it was amazing!

Both Jen and Carmen took the opportunity to share a few words about the year and what it meant to them.  More tears, more hugs.

They took a few moments to thank me for being the parent liaision for the second year in a row and gave me the most beautiful potted vegetable garden as a thank you gift.  What a lovely, thoughtful gift that Sydney and I will enjoy all summer long and think of Jen and Carmen every time we harvest something from it!

I had the opportunity to choke out a few words of thanks to Jen and Carmen too and give them some beautiful bouquets of flowers along with gift cards to Oakridge and Starbucks and a copy of a beautiful album that my friend Marcy made, highlighting the past three years that our kids have been together in preschool.

We also gave the teachers a mug and printed copy of this beautiful poster that one of the Moms, Joanne, got together for them.  Each child held up a letter to make a message "Thank you, we love you!"  I just loved looking at Jen and Carmen's faces when they saw it!

Then it was time to say goodbye.  More hugs, more tears, as one by one the families left, onward to the next chapter of their lives, whatever that might look like.  Some are moving on to Kindergarten, some are going to preschools where they will eventually go to elementary school and a few lucky ones are staying to spend another year in the magical classroom that is Bet Preschool.

Syd and I lingered for quite some time until it was just us and Gretchen and Noa alone in the room with Jen and Carmen, none of us wanting to leave because it meant that life would never be the same as it was at that exact moment.  It was the end of an era and we all knew it.

Sydney and Jen spent a few precious moments saying a special goodbye, I watched from a distance with an ache in my heart at how sad my little girl was to have to say goodbye to her best friend and beloved teacher that she often tells me is 'like a sister to her.'

Then we held our heads high and walked out the door, ready for what was ahead and ever so grateful for what lay behind.

Sydney's buddy Jack came over for the afternoon which was a welcome distraction from the ache in our hearts after all the tears and goodbyes.

The kids enjoyed a treat at Menchies, then a little playtime at the park.

Before we headed home for some snuggle time on the couch watching TV and snacking on popcorn.

It was nice to have some company and to be reminded that we do indeed have so many people in our lives that we deeply love and are connected to and who fill our lives with so much love.  We truly are blessed beyond measure to have them and to have crossed paths with all of the precious families in preschool over the past few years as well. 

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