As I was cleaning out my daughter's lunch box
recently, I discovered a note that had been sent home from her
pre-school. "Your child's Graduation date has been moved up by three
weeks. Please mark your calendars. Additionally, please send in
15-dollars for a cap and gown by this Friday."
After inquiring the following morning, I was told that the reason
for the new graduation date was because her favorite teacher had to
move to California. I'm not sure what bugged me more--the idea that my
daughter's teacher was going to gone for the remainder of the school
year, or that I was being asked to shell out money for a cap and gown
for a 4-year-old's graduation ceremony. I pictured a bunch of little
kids running about in their graduation gear, tassel's flying, causing
mass chaos, while a bunch of stage parents cooed over how adorable
their children were.
But, my daughter had been practicing for her early graduation, and
in an attempt to make sure that she didn't sense any of my hesitations,
I needed to fully commit. In order to guarantee that I would make it to
the ceremony in time, I would have to take a day off from work. Well,
in for a penny, in for a pound (or in this case, 15 bucks and a
Over the next week, my daughter brought home some more paperwork and together, we practiced graduation songs together. There was no humming of "Pomp & Circumstance
," but she mastered a rousing rendition of, "Kindergarten Here We Come," sung to the tune of "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
." Then the big day arrived.
My daughter insisted on wearing a new hand-me-down summer dress, and she shivered as we walked to her school--not because of her excitement, but rather because it had dropped to an unexpected 58 degrees and had begun to drizzle. But no bad weather would put a damper on this event! Upon arriving, she was whisked away by one of her teachers, and when she next emerged, she was decked out in a teal gown and cap
, adorned by a tassel with 2009 in golden plastic. She couldn't have been more excited if she were graduating college. She waved her tassel at me from the stage, even though she wasn't supposed to be on stage yet.
Typically, I'm one of the moms that tends to arrive at my kid's school events just as they're about to start, but an early graduation deserved an early arrival, and with total commitment, I'd taken a place in the front row, saved a spot for my husband, and was ready to snap photos, and do anything else a doting parent might do. The class was eventually reassembled, and they walked in a line down the aisle. It only took three teachers and the school director to get them in their places on the stage. Their opening song was completely out of sync, sung in an unintentional round of sorts, but as they sang, my heart melted and I began to laugh. I was oozing with parental pride.
For a moment, it was as if a portal to the future had opened, and we each had the chance to glance at what our children would be like when they graduated from high school, or college. My daughter blew her tassel out of her face, adjusted her cap over her dirty blond hair, and slowly her shyness gave way to a child that had learned the songs and was ready to move forward. There was a little clique of girls
further down the line, all holding hands. There was a little boy who kept stepping out of line and grabbing the microphone in the middle of the stage despite the teacher's protests, and I pictured him as the class clown
when he got older. This batch of kids was so impossibly cute that there was nothing I could do but laugh out loud. This graduation was so wrong, that it was right. I was hoping that my daughter would not think that I was laughing at her and get upset.
I handed the camera to my husband and asked him if he was "getting this shot" and "getting that song". These were snapshots of true love, and for a split second, I wasn't sure if I was tearing up because I was laughing so hard, or because I was so proud of my child. I was caught up in the moment of this silly graduation ceremony and in an instant, I was that stage mom that I'd grumbled about earlier. As our kids sang songs about many of the things they'd learned throughout the year, I realized this was just the first of what I hope will be a number of ceremonies in which she'll be a part.
When my daughter walked across the stage to accept her "diploma," and a special treat that the teachers handed out along with it, my husband and I got up and tried to get her to pose for a photo with us. (The teacher suggested the parents do so.) She wasn't really in the mood to pose, because she said that her hat itched, and she wanted to open her treat right then and there. After it was over, the parents all wished each other, "Congratulations," and I joined in, although had a hard time doing it with any sort of straight face. Early graduation was $15 bucks well-spent.
This is an original NYC Moms Blog post. When not being a kvelling mother, Eden is Executive Producer at CNN's New York Bureau. Continued on the next page