It’s Kindergarten Graduation Time. Again. It’s been six years since Young Daughter made this same step up to 1st grade. It’s the kind of June morning where the mugginess plasters your shirt to your back, between the shoulders. Parents wave paper programs, coaxing a hint of a breeze. The children are restless. The teachers are restless. Anyone else who wasn’t restless should’ve been.
Notwithstanding, it’s a proud moment for everyone here today.
It’s been a long school year, for teachers and students alike. It’s the first time around the sun in school for the youngsters, with (at least) 12 more to follow.
Kindergartners sing the songs they’re practiced for weeks, with complete with gestures and props. Of course, there are the audience’s stifled laugh moments. Short speeches turn into run-on sentences. Props are dropped. A student who is marching to his or her own drummer. It’s priceless.
Afterward, three generations will swirl and point and coo, and say, “Awww” at appropriate moments. Everyone has a phone, but they’re taking pictures instead of texting. Every moment is appropriate.
Cellophane flower bouquets are crinkling. Tiny hands squeeze the life out of gift bag handles. Hugs, smoochie-smoochie kisses everywhere.
I wouldn’t have believed it if someone told me 5 years ago I’d be standing on the other side of the room today, This time, I’m among the educators held accountable for the process that has brought these youngsters thus far.
Truly, what a long, strange trip it has been.
Five years ago, we were walking back to the car together, proud parents of a bouquet-hugging child. The doors were open before us. Next stop, First Grade.
This time, I;m looking out from the inside, I watch the children and their families walk away. The morning of graduation, they file out of the Kindergarten classroom for the final time on their way to the future.
The classroom is quiet.
It’s a most unusual sensation.
Many times over the past several months, I’ve truly doubted this class’s ability to ever be quiet, even for a second or two. Always someone humming, tapping, whispering to a neighbor — it’s been a constant frustration.
But now, it truly is silent, All that’s left are the memories and and moments that linger at every seat. It’s actually a bit sad.
I know not where the Fates will land me for the start of the next school year. But know I’ll carry a piece of the place with me, and hope I’ve left a little something worthwhile behind,