Every June I feel guilty for not attending the end of year activities at Bridget’s preschool. The truth has always been that since she wasn’t “graduating” to kindergarten I felt why go through the motions? Why go through the tears, anxiety and feelings of despair as I watched children that were her friends move on without her.
Every year she arrives home with her diploma and I put it with the previous years in my hope chest. Last year was especially difficult for me. It was the first year that Bridget should have been graduating to kindergarten. Per my usual MO I skipped the ceremony. In my mind, it hadn’t happened yet. She wasn’t graduating and I wasn’t going to pretend. I promised myself that next year, this year, I would attend the ceremony. I would take pictures and I would pretend I was like every other mom ecstatic that my child was going to be (finally) moving up to kindergarten.
Instead I skipped the ceremony. But I swear it wasn’t my fault!
It started with this great idea. Instead of giving toys for Christmas, we would give an experience. Abby has read of all of the Misty of Chincoteague books and is enamored with all things horse. In November we booked our end of school year trip. Scheduled for the week after school would let out, plus a buffer. Then this happened:
More than once. It happened so often I had to place blankets over my windows because Bridget was having panic attacks just looking outside. The last day of school moved to when we would be on vacation. Do we postpone or go a day late? There was no hesitation when we decided to take the girls out of school (what would they be missing?) and proceed with our vacation as planned. In all honesty, Bridget wouldn’t remember her graduation. Who does? In contrast, this trip will be one our family remembers.
(Full disclosure: photos and information used with Abby’s permission!)
That was more important. Our family needed this more than I knew when originally planned. We need to get away from school, therapy, work and the internet. We needed to laugh in the waves and look in awe at the wild ponies. We needed hikes and campfires. We needed rainbows, lighthouses and the expressions on Abby’s face captured. We needed to go on a hunt for the Beebee ranch house/museum only to find out (when we returned home) that it closed 5 years ago. We needed to let our child plan where we would go and what she wanted to see. We could have done without the mosquitoes. Yet we learned in letting Abby build her excitement for six months and to have her research and plan what to do we ended up exploring a region we might not have ever discovered.
We skipped what would have been Bridget’s official pre-kindergarten graduation ceremony. We didn’t say goodbye to her friends. We missed the tearful goodbye that would have happened with her pre-K teacher who means so much to us. Instead we took a trip that Abby said was way better than going to Disney. It okay because for the first time in four years Bridget is going with her friends to kindergarten.
WITH her friends to kindergarten.
Holy crap, she is going to kindergarten.