I didn't want to cry. I seriously held it together for most of the adorable ceremony full of 5 year olds singing sweet songs. When they lined up all the mothers to get handmade tissue flowers from their children, I still didn't cry. They announced all the graduates' names and what they want to be when they grow up, and I was still holding it together. Then, it happened. They played a slideshow with pictures from the entire year of all the kids being kids at preschool. I don't even remember the first song, probably because I was trying so hard not to cry. But then they played Billy Dean's "Let Them Be Little" and the tears just started to flow. I'm not much of a country fan, so I had never heard the song before. The chorus goes like this:
So let them be little,
'Cause they're only that way for a while.
Give 'em hope, give them praise,
Give them love every day.
Let 'em cry, let 'em giggle,
Let 'em sleep in the middle,
Oh, but let them be little.
It makes me cry just to read those lyrics.
After the ceremony, there were many pictures. This one made me crack up. Even though the quality isn't that great, Annika's personality just shines through so perfectly.
Mayzie was so proud of her big sister
By this point in the picture taking, Annika was hot and over it.
We retreated to the school cafeteria where there was cake and punch for everyone. It was such a nice ceremony to mark the passing of a major milestone, and what better way to finish it off than with lime sherbet punch and buttercream frosted cake at 10am.
Annika's pre-K teacher was amazing and sweet and everything you ever wanted in a teacher for your wild and rambunctious kid. She collected all of the kids' art throughout the entire year and had them in giant folders for each of them. That would have been above and beyond enough, but she went even further. She made scrapbooks with pictures of each child individually and some of the entire class too. This album is so beautiful and special that it brought me to tears, again. (We've been soo lucky when it comes to teachers for her so far, and I am keeping my fingers crossed for Kindergarten.)
It was a sad day for Annika, as she knows that she'll be transitioning to a new school in the fall while most of her friends stay at the private catholic school for the rest of their elementary then middle school school days together. She'll be fine, and we know it, but it doesn't make it any less disappointing for our little 5 year old who keeps having to transition to new schools for what will be 3 years in a row. She's resilient, but I somehow feel like we're asking too much from her. Either way, I don't feel strongly enough to figure out how to come up with the thousands of dollars it would take to keep her in private school.
Here is our Pre-K graduate Miss Annika:
Pre-K Graduation Questionnaire in her own words:
When I grow up I want to be a veterinarian.
My teacher is Mrs. B------ .
My friends are J------, R-----, & A-----.
My favorite thing about my preschool is the playground.
What I love the most about my mom is when she sends notes to Santa.
What I love the most about my dad is when he works a lot.
My favorite Christmas gift is the pink doggy.
We're so very proud of our little graduate! She's growing up too fast. I tell her every day to stop growing, and it makes her laugh and counter, "I can't mama" every time. Another milestone passes, and she's one step closer to being independent and leaving us. That's what made the tears flow when she took her first steps and that's what brought me to tears at the ceremony. I know this time is fleeting, and I know not to hold too tightly as it slips away regardless of how much I want to pause these moments. But we're proud as can be, and grateful that we get to bear witness to the process of her becoming and developing and learning and choosing and growing.
The teachers and children sang this perfect song together:
I think you're wonderful. I think you're marvelous.
I think you're beautiful and magical and filled with curiosity...and dreams