Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Graduation blues

My daughter, who is six, graduated from kindergarten today.

I am.......ambivalent....... about such things as kindergarten graduations.  I can actually better understand a pre-school graduation because the transition from pre-k to kindergarten is (in general) more drastic than say kindergarten to first grade.

The school the kids attended before we moved in March didn't do the graduation ceremony thing. I was cool with that. The new school does.

Coming in to a new school so close to the end of the year, I knew there would be a lot of things that everyone else would know that I wouldn't - such as where to find out what time said graduation started and perhaps the amount of minutes before the ceremony starts one should arrive in order to find parking, sign in, and a seat in the tiny little auditorium.

Until today, all I had seen about this graduation thing was a sheet the room parent sent home about the celebration afterwards and what needed to be sent in. For GP (general purposes), the only time I had seen was 9:30 am.

On my way to school this morning, I started thinking about that.

Prepare yourself, my train of thought may astound you.

If the celebration is at 9:30, chances are high that the actual graduation is before that. School starts at 8. So logic would lead to the conclusion that the ceremony would be sometime between 8 and 9:30.


I asked the teacher who was helping in the drop off line if she knew what time graduation started. She didn't, but suggested I call the office and ask them. When I got home a few minutes later, I saw that Sara hadn't taken her book bag out of the car. So I opened it and crumpled at the bottom was a graduation program. It started at 8:30, which meant I had enough time to freshen up, grab my camera, change clothes, and head back to school.

I got there at 8:27. There was no legitimate parking to be found, so I parked on the side of the road beside the parking lot halfway into the forest. It was way more impressive by sight than by description.

I power walked into school, where the last of the kindergartners were filing into the auditorium. I signed in, slipped into the auditorium, and realized Sara's class was closest to me on the stage, so I was seeing their backs. So I walked around to the other door so I could at least see her and she could see that I was there.

The auditorium was packed, which made sense after seeing all the extra cars parked around the school. Each kindergarten class sang their own little song, then all the students took turns walking across the auditorium to get their 'diploma'.

I have to admit, it was cute.

It was also really hot and stuffy in there. By the time Sara's class was up, I was sweating, just like everyone else near me. The older I get, the less I like crowded places and being shoved in small rooms with a ton of people I don't know, so I was a bit anxious to get out of there and once the kids started filing out, I took off and waited for Sara in the hallway. Immediate relief.

Now, here's the thing. Luckily, Sara had agreed to dress up this morning and she looked adorable. Most of the other kids were dressed to the 9's - party dresses and little suits. Wow. Parents and grandparents and I'm sure some aunts and uncles were there with balloons and flowers and cards for the graduates. Double wow.

I hadn't brought anything like that for Sara. It's flipping kindergarten.

We made it into the courtyard where there were tables set up with treats and punch. I helped Sara make a plate and we sat down so she could eat. It was a beautiful day outside and we were sitting on the edge of the   sidewalk kind of in the middle of the area, so we had a great people watching spot.

I was surprised how many parents were really dressed up too - like it was a high school or college graduation or something. I found it all very....interesting. And kind of foreign. I think it's great to have a little celebration at the end of the year, but seriously? This was treated like an actual graduation.  I'm surprised there weren't new bikes or scooters wrapped in big red ribbons waiting in the parking lot.

Sara asked me on the way home (because she got to leave after the celebration) what the first grade graduation was like and when Tucker would have his second grade graduation. I explained that she probably wouldn't have another one until high school. She was devastated. And that's a lot of my problem with 'graduations' before high school. Why on earth is a high school or college graduation special if you've had them every few years since you started school?


Samantha said...

Exactly my sentiment. I recently had a conversation with another friend about this, more specifically the 8th grade "graduations" around here. I think it's rather silly. I don't remember having any graduation other than high school (and college) when I went to school in NC. And in Florida, I don't believe any of my husband's nieces or nephews had kindergarten or 8th grade graduations.

Brooke said...

Samantha! I hope you're doing well!!

I'm all for celebrating success and achievement, but I agree with you that I consider graduation to be a success and achievement at the end of high school and college. Just like I shudder to think of what prom night has become. And sixteenth birthday parties.