Brooklyn is finishing up school this week, marking time until tomorrow at 11:20 when she officially ceases to be a Kindergartner and moves on to the world of First grade. I watch her with tempered excitement and wonder - how could my little baby already be so big? And how will she handle having to sit at a desk for an entire school day, and will she be able to pay attention? But those questions are better saved for August, after the fun of the summer has passed, after we have run out of sunscreen and her blond hair has turned green from all of those hours in the pool; after we have worn out our Disneyland passes and the princesses know her by name; after we have watching countless fireworks shows and are tanned and well-rested.
In the meantime, I had to laugh at how the little ones are celebrating their "promotion." Today was Brooklyn's class party, a solid hour and a half of playing summer bingo (and winning prizes,) of face painting, of making flower leis, and of course, making and eating ice cream sundaes. (Oh, the sugar rush!) In the midst of all of this chaos, Brooklyn, carrying around her yearbook, asking her friends to "sign" it. I found it amusing, considering things when I was in school. Several of the moms and I were talking about how classes at the school were marking the end of the school year, with "field day" parties, or playing in the sand with water balloons and commenting how no work was done this week. Tomorrow, on the very last day of school, Brooklyn's class is having a pajama party. Jammies and blankets and stuffed "friends," hanging with her friends on the carpet, watching movies and relaxing.
Do any of you remember your last day of Kindergarten? I don't remember mine specifically, but I do remember that there was no "promotion" or "graduation." There was no celebration (other than the students celebrating being done with school.) The 6th graders are preparing for their promotion ceremony, put on by the PTA. When I finished 6th grade, there was no promotion ceremony, no parties (other than Dawn Gray's birthday party - her birthday fell during the first week of June, I think), just a paperback Webster's Dictionary, a pat on the back and a "good luck in Junior High." We made the most of it, of course, having our friends sign our dictionaries and making plans to see each other over the summer. I still have that dictionary somewhere on a bookshelf and laugh at some of the things my friends said at the time.
It's interesting to me how we, as parents, now want our kids to have (and savor) all of those things that we didn't have as kids. Our parents would have scoffed at the idea of a kindergarten "graduation" (or even "preschool") or a "promotion" from 6th grade to 7th grade (or to Middle School.) Yearbooks were for high school and for some, only just for senior year. There were no parties during the school year, other than at Christmas and maybe on the last day of school, for the last hour or two. Every other moment of the day during the school year was spent learning, even right up to the last minute. (O.k., I'll give you that by senior year of high school, there was no work being done that last week, especially for those of us who had already gotten into college and didn't really need those last quarter grades.) But things have changed.
Yes, I got Brooklyn a yearbook and yes, her picture is in it several times. Her smiling little face is captured there for all to see for eternity (or at least as long as the book lasts) along with all of her friends' "signatures." I will continue to buy her yearbooks, as long as they are offered. I can only hope that she will save them and when she is older and has kids, she will share her memories with them. (She asked me the other day if I had yearbooks and when I said "yes" she said she wondered if she would be able to recognize me in them. I did have to explain that I only had them from high school and college, but she still wants to see them.)
So much has changed since I was in school, both with the school system itself (more on that later) and for me personally. I want so much for Brooklyn to experience it all and to have the yearbooks and the pictures to keep, things I didn't always get to have. Maybe it's a little too optimistic of me to think that she'll even care, but a Mom can hope, can't she? In the meantime, I'll be the one to remind her and when my memory fails, she'll be able to look at her yearbook and the pictures. And when it's Kensi's turn, I'm sure I'll do it all over again, because of course it wouldn't be fair to do it for one and not the other. ;)
I hope whatever stage you (your kids) are in, moving from Kindergarten to 1st or 6th to 7th or from high school to college (or even just a grade in between) that you enjoy each moment and take it all in, even if just for a second. And have a fun (and safe!) summer.