On her last day of school, Mary Virginia did not want to get dressed, eat breakfast, or let me fix her hair. She definitely did not want to stand on the stairs, and look directly into the sun while I took her photo.
She’s dressed and on her way to school because, even though she didn’t want to participate, David had to go to school, so we all have to get ready and go to school, and everything isn’t always about you, my dear middle child.
This is an artistic interpretation of the mommy-daughter struggle that occurred on the porch:
Me: stand on the porch and smile
Mary Virginia: I will stand here but you cannot make me smile.
Mary Virginia: …
Me: If you smile I’ll give you a marshmallow
Mary Virginia: make it two.
David’s last day of school was a few days after Mary Virginia’s, and it happened to be pouring rain in the morning, so he’s under our porch instead of on the steps.
Don’ be confused by David’s outfit — it was not pirate day, or dress-up day, or show and tell day. But every day my kids insist on taking toys for the drive to school (outside toys aren’t allowed in the classroom, so the kids have to leave them in the van) solely to make me crazy. This particular day it was a pirate hat and necklaces.
(Remember the shorts he’s worn on the first and last day of school each year? I still have them, but the rain made things to hectic for him to change clothes as we were walking out the door.)
Later that night David’s class had a special graduation celebration. Since David isn’t actually going to kindergarten next year, we joked that he didn’t really get a diploma, they just let him walk with his class.
The graduation was very fun and fancy with pomp and circumstance and “Class of 2016” balloons. There were little boys in bowties and three-piece suits, and little girls in satin and tulle. And then my little boy in a t-shirt and ripped jeans because it did not even cross my mind that a preschool graduation would be a formal event.
Good thing we get to do it over again next year.
At the beginning of this year, the preschool routine felt very, very challenging. Thomas was so little, and Mary Virginia was so two. But we made it! We survived and even showed up with homemade cookies for the graduation! On the first day of school I prayed that we would grow in our trust and knowledge of God’s great love for us. Now, looking back at this year, all I can see is God’s goodness and his love for us.
We were blessed with good friends, and wonderful teachers — those are not small things. In fact, it’s impossible to articulate how I feel when I drop Mary Virginia off and one of her friends runs up to her, holding out a duck. Or the joy I feel when David asked me if we could invite his teachers to his birthday party.
David grew and changed so much this year. His interest and abilities in coloring, writing, and letters has exploded. My little boy who used to complain about art projects, begs me to paint and craft and write letters. And Mary Virginia? Oh, Mary Virginia. Every day she came home telling me who was in school, what her teachers wore, what they read, sang, and the dew-point and humidity level in the classroom. When her class was walking to the playground, she looked in the other classes and would tell me what they were doing, too.
I can’t wait until she can join the school newspaper and put all this observation to use.
Thanks to school, my kids learned Bible verses, made friends, and grew in confidence.
The morning of the last day of school, David kept asking me, “What is the last day of school?” And I kept answering, “TODAY! Today is the last day of school!” We had a round about, frustrating conversation where he kept asking the same thing over and over and I kept answer the same thing and he gotlouder but never changed his question at all. Then I realized what he was asking — he didn’t understand the concept of the last day of school. Like, what is this “end” you speak of? Why does school have a “last day”? He hadn’t been counting down the days to summer vacation because preschool kids don’t do that. For them, school is about fun and friends and why does that have to end?
One day school will be different, but for now I’m thankful for these foundational lessons, that learning is exciting, school is fun, and God loves you.