In her final steps as a preschooler, Mia walks over a wooden bridge towards the next stop in her educational journey.
Kindergarten here she comes.
The baby years are officially behind me, I am and will continue to be deeply immersed in the fun of the elementary years.
A long ling of small humans walk up the aisle of the church. Ms. Julie, their music teacher, plays Pomp and Circumstance on the piano.
I thought I’d cry, but the ceremony itself is light, funny, and sweet. I am inspired. Inspired in the potential and possibility of each child…of my child.
I laugh. There is a big bunch of preschoolers singing John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt at the top of their lungs, then at a whisper, then just mouthing the words.
Some singing with great gusto. Others at a whisper. Still others just smile and look around.
There are three groups with different songs. After singing, each child walks over a tiny oak colored bridge.
They practice all week, every day. Don’t run. Walk carefully. Stop at the top of the bridge.
During the final practice on the graduation day, Ms. Mary, our preschool director, fell off the stage and broke her foot. Mia told me, “Ms. Mary broke herself.” But preschool directors are a tough bunch, so she went to the ER, got her foot stabilized, and returned back to school to lead the graduation. After four years at this school, watching both my daughters grow up, it wouldn’t have been the same without Ms. Mary.
At the top of the bridge, Ms. Mary announces each child’s chosen future career filtered by the rose-colored glasses only five-year olds can wear.
Fireman. Policeman. Construction worker.
Queen. Princess. Ballet girl.
Teacher. Doctor. Astronaut.
Some of my personal favorites are ice cream driver, ninja, and builder of tall buildings.
One little girl wants to be a driver when she grows up. A driver who drives people around in her blue car.
Child after child crosses the bridge until Mia is one of only two children still standing on the stage. Her name is finally called and she walks up the bridge and pauses for her moment.
Ms. Mary announces, “Mia Bey……she wants to be a vet because she has a book about pets.”
That’s my girl.
The end the graduation with a rousing version of Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah; choreographed hand movements and all.
As Ms. Mary closes out the commencement, she reminds us the kids are the future high school graduating class of 2028.
Out in the church foyer, we gather for cookies and punch. Mia holds two bouquets of flowers; they are almost too big for her to carry.
From her school, she receives a small pink teddy bear and printed diploma stating she has successfully completed her early childhood education. The majors? Count to fifty. Know your colors. Identify shapes. Write your name. Be nice to others. Share. Clean up after yourself.
She wants a photo with Ms. Mary. We walk out into the garden where she insists on a photo next to the other Mary. The Mary.
I reflect upon what Ms. Mary shared with us.
The graduating class of 2028.
Doesn’t that seem far away?
I guess not because, as my mom friends of older children remind me, it’ll pass in a blink.
So, I’ll take their advice.
I promise not to blink, I don’t want to miss a thing.