Today was Anya's last day of four-year-old kindergarten. There was a short ceremony at her preschool this afternoon, where all the children were presented with a book, a diploma, and a graduation cap made out of a plastic serving bowl, bright green cardstock paper, and some curly ribbons.
The book for the kids going to kindergarten is the ever-popular Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss. What made it special was that the teachers had written a personal note for each child on the inside cover, leaving room for all her future teachers to write a note at the end of every year as she goes through school. Isn't that cool? I should get a copy for Daniel and have his teachers do the same thing...
The kids sang a song for the assembled parents and had a special snack before the mini-ceremony. I do not remember feeling so emotional about Daniel finishing preschool. Maybe it had something to do with the cold medication I'm taking (this particular virus is a real doozy - I don't think I've felt this bad all year), or maybe it's because Anya is my youngest and therefore my last child to go through this preschool, but I am telling you, I could barely keep myself together. I managed not to cry, though, which is a good thing. I hate crying in front of people.
When I pulled everything out of her folder for the last time, I saw this and just about lost it for real:
That picture right there tells you a lot about our relationship.
Words are barely adequate to express how much Anya has grown in her two years at this preschool. She is such an individual, strong in her opinions and desires, but quite sensitive and often so shy about expressing herself that I find myself worrying about her social development in ways I never even thought about with Daniel. (Daniel, who is so extroverted and emotionally resilient, causes me anxiety in many other ways, but never in the case of social skills.)
I think about Anya in kindergarten, and I am flooded with a mix of emotions. I worry that the crush of children and crowded, noisy lunchroom will terrify her. I puff up with pride knowing she's better at math and reading already than some kids entering first grade. I am anticipating a much longer period of adjustment than Daniel had, and I know I will miss her like crazy being at school all day long instead of for just a few hours at a time. It's just like they say: parenting is bittersweet. They grow up so fast. Et cetera.
I also know that Anya has many special qualities that other people recognize and often tell me about. She is very intelligent. She is extremely conscientious about rules, though never bossy. She is gentle.At her preschool, many of the younger children in her class (her preschool has mixed-age classrooms, so not every child in her class will go to KG in the fall) look to her to learn the rules and routines. I can't tell you how many parents have come up to me to tell me that their children come home and say, "Anya is so nice," and "Anya is so helpful," and "Anya is a good friend."
Yes, I think she is ready. Entering a large public school full of big kids, rough kids, noisy kids - that will be a big adjustment for her. She will also have to get used to being at school for seven hours at a time, which will be exhausting. (None of this seemed to bother Daniel at all, surprisingly enough.) But, in part thanks to the amazing teachers and classmates she has known at her current preschool, Anya knows and feels confident about who she is.
I think she'll be just fine.