From the outside, this past Wednesday morning was like no other. An alarm woke me up for a day of work, I followed my morning routine, and I went to wake my children for school. One thing was different. It was the last day of school for my two children.
It was a special school year for our family. My son started public school for the first time for fourth grade. He learned to pick out his own clothes because there was no uniform. He went from a class of 16 to 25, he changed classrooms for each subject, dealt with a bullying situation, and he made over a years growth in reading because he got the support he needed. He rose from his bed and stopped half way out of his bedroom. He turned to me with tears in his eyes and said, “I am going to miss my teachers. I am never going to have them again.” I wrapped my arms around him, kissed him on top of his head, and whispered words of encouragement. He slowly headed downstairs to eat breakfast, his eyes cast downward.
I then go to wake my daughter, but she has beaten me to it. She is sitting up in bed with a big smile on her face. Suddenly, she looks so much older. She is no longer the little five year old I sent to Kindergarten all those months ago. She learned to read, she even explained what a digraph is to her father the night before. She writes fiction and nonfiction pieces. She asked me if I would help her research more about rocks to put in her piece. She not only grew taller, she grew into a student who loves to learn.
I don’t even get two steps into her room when she jumps up on her bed and shouts, “After school I am going to be a grader! No more Kindergarten for me!” I stop and look at her. She is my youngest, my baby. All of a sudden, the thought of first grade sounds so mature to me. Having a Kindergartner still made me feel like my child was very small, even though I know how much they learn during this year. My mother’s heart ached just a bit knowing my baby is growing up faster than my heart will allow. I scooped Willow up in my arms and she gives me a tight squeeze. I felt tear welling up in my eyes. I then look at her hoping to find the words to express how proud I am of her, to let her know how much I love her, and I know she going to do fantastic in first grade. Before I could find my voice she grabs my face with her little hands and says sweetly, “I have to pee so bad. I need down.” She sprints to the bathroom and I am left in her room alone, giggling.