Will and Luke turned 5 in March, and we're in the early depths of summer in the South... which means, it is time for pre-K graduation! Kindergarten is right around the corner. This is hard for me to believe, as my kindergarten memories of Ms. Manning at Center School in Greenbelt don't seem like they were all that long ago.
However a lot has changed in the world since I started kindergarten in 1984... one of which is the elaborate graduation ceremonies that are thrown when kids move from pre-K to kindergarten!
Last Thursday was Luke's graduation from his daycare pre-K. We love the school and he has learned a lot since starting there last year. I had a hunch that we were in for a special graduation ceremony when Lifetouch came in and took 'cap and gown' photos with the rising kindergartners. Very cute to moms everywhere, but probably ridiculous to everyone else!
Well the graduation ceremony did not disappoint. We arrived early with kids in their summer Sunday best. Luke was ushered off to get into his cap and gown, and we were ushered into a large auditorium. I snuck off to snap some 'getting ready' photos before I was shushed away. I guess I was distracting the kids from their pre-game rehearsal.
I was shocked by how a thin gauzy white gown and cap could make my eyes immediately tear over with the disbelief that Luke is 5 years old! What a milestone! And then my mind jumped to 13 years from now when he'll be wearing a similar outfit and walking across a similar stage as he graduates from high school. I had to stop myself there.
I returned to my seat just in time for Pomp and Circumstance to start over the loud speakers. I was taken back to the Cap Center in Prince George's County, Maryland where I graduated from high school. I started swaying in my seat, remembering the long walk from the Washington Capitals locker rooms to my seat on the floor, stepping to the music in time.
Only these weren't 18 year old high school graduates filing to their seats before my eyes... they were 4 ft tall (and less!). And waving to their parents like their life depended on it. With big smiles, wide eyes, and lots of excitement.
There were less than 30 kids graduating, so they filed in a whole lot faster than my class of 900! We were lucky that they didn't walk in by last name - Luke was sitting in the middle of the front row! They quickly took their seats and the program began. Welcoming remarks, obligatory thanking of teachers and administrators, etc.
Then the entertainment. Two songs and dances. The kids did great. Luke had so much fun, laughing and dancing in front of everyone in the audience. He didn't seem at all freaked out to be on stage!
I don't know if any of the kids remembered all the words or moves despite the strategically placed teachers all around the room. But that didn't seem to matter in the eyes of us doting fans in the audience. Through teary eyes and smiles, we gave the kids a standing ovation after their number.
With fined tuned subtle yet persuasive preschool teacher precision, we moved from song and dance to the announcement of the candidates of graduation. Cue cameras. Wait patiently for your kid's name to be called. Snap a ton of photos and hope just one comes out. Or maybe two.
And then, in an instant, they were marching off stage again with graduation certificates in hand. The announcer mentioned cake in the lobby. We tried to take some family photos outside of the auditorium. All Luke could think about was the promised cake.
Shortly after this last photo was taken, Luke had to take off his cap and gown. They belong to the school, so we (thankfully) did not have to buy one. But Luke had grown attached to his cap and gown, and giving it up didn't seem like something he wanted to do. Also, he had slept terribly the night before and we were pushing bed time...
So we were soon in full on emotional meltdown. Luke was sobbing. His teachers looked shocked because he's never thrown a temper tantrum in school! And this was one for the record books. I shoved a piece of cake in Matt's mouth as we ran through the lobby with a screaming, crying Luke. We drove home to the beautiful sounds of Luke calling us bad parents. We got him ready for bed to threats that he was going to take Matt and Will with him to Carolina Ale House to celebrate his graduation and leave us at home to think about our actions.
And then in an instant, he was asleep. And the excitement of graduation day ended with a collective Slavik sigh of relief. Let's hope kindergarten graduation isn't quite as dramatic next year.