Unfortunately, these days it appears that every minute milestone warrants a mortar board. By the time a child graduates from college, she may have already sported a cap and gown at least five previous times!
In a few weeks my oldest daughter, and all of her little friends, will be "graduating" from preschool, and my Facebook news feed will be awash with proud parents displaying their children's graduation photos. Bleh! When did completing two years of preschool begin meriting a diploma? If anyone deserves to be celebrated, it is the parents who survived the trying preschool years. I would gladly accept a party and diploma for enduring the exasperating three-nagers and the frustrating 4-year-olds.
However, since the majority of the country finds it necessary to celebrate a child mastering the art of snack-time and finger-painting, I have written a commencement letter to all the little ones about to embark on the path to elementary school.
As you read this, imagine that Green Day's "Time of Your Life" is accompanying a slide show of photos that are mostly of the "you had to be there" nature.
Congratulations, graduates of the preschool class of 2012!
Today you have arrived. Today you officially become a big kid. You are leaving the protective realm of nap time and free play to enter the real world of cubby holes and ABC's. Yes, elementary school is a wide, scary world, but don't be afraid. Your parents and teachers have prepared you well -- all those long mornings stringing plastic beads and playing with colored sand will not be wasted.
As you reflect back on these past two years, take time to remember your struggles and achievements.
Remember the day you stuffed both nostrils with dried navy beans and had to breathe out of your mouth until the doctor pried them out with those huge tweezers? Priceless!
Remember the time you cried so long and hard for your mother, that the preschool director was sure that you were having an anxiety attack? Then she called your mom to come and get you? Hilarious!
Remember when the teacher let the class play with finger paints and half the kids decided to get naked in order to slather their bodies blue and red? LOL!
But seriously, bravo! You have successfully made it through two years of grueling curriculum including, but not limited to, the following: dress up play, block building, pretend kitchen games, story hour, circle time and nose picking. I know it has been rough, and that there were days when it was difficult to change out of your Thomas the Tank Engine PJ's, but you did it. You made it to school ... most days.
Even though this day marks the end of your toddler/preschooler-hood, don't be distressed. There is a whole world of opportunities waiting for you. Just think, in a year you may be able to read "Goodnight Moon" all on your own, or add using your fingers. By this time next year, you may be through with nighttime pull-ups!
So, as I raise this juice box in your honor, I will be wishing that it was spiked with vodka. However, hip-hip-hooray to you, young graduate! You did it! Sincerest congratulations on a job well done. Now, if you could only learn to tie your own shoes.
Until next year (when we get to do this all over again for your kindergarten graduation), much love,
The Real World