The other day, I asked my son if he was sad about kindergarten ending. He was lying in bed, clad in Star Wars pajamas, a few minutes away from falling asleep. “No, Mama,” he replied quickly.
“Why not?” I asked. (Great parenting, Kimberly. Introduce the idea of being sad when the kid’s not upset.)
“It’s just so long,” he moaned, rolling over and covering his head with his comforter.
His answer, of course, is the complete opposite of how I feel. He thinks it’s gone on too far (and, granted, our town has one of the latest last days of school around), while I think it’s been impossibly fast.
I walked him to school today, as I have done almost every day this school year, and it felt like every other day. We talked, held hands, and pointed out poison ivy and the heron on the pond. We discussed Tasmanian Devils and the largest birds in the world (an Andean condor). It was the walk home by myself that got me: it’s the last day of kindergarten.
Why is it so hard to let go of kindergarten? For me, it has everything to do with the year being so special for my son—he’s been happy in his class and has thrived—and the realization he’s gone from a little kid to a big first-grader (next year, he’ll have homework!) is hard to fathom.
He’s taller than he was in September, and he’s lost a few more teeth. He’s still as inquisitive as he was at the start of the year, but the questions have become more complex and thoughtful (“Mama, what does betrayed mean?”). He’s so much more of a boy these days, and that transformation will only speed up as the days past (“Soon it will be his high school graduation!” his kindergarten teacher said this morning).
To make sure I didn’t miss this important transition, I interviewed him about his kindergarten experience. He was a reluctant subject, answering just a few inquiries:
- What was your favorite part of kindergarten? “Snack time”
- What was your favorite activity in the classroom? “Blocks”
- What was your favorite subject? “Reading”
- What was your favorite part of school? “Library – because you get to pick out of book”
His answers were just as I would have guessed, which was a great comfort for this “please don’t grow up so fast” mama.
I’ll pick him up in a few hours, and we’ll go out for a special lunch–just the two of us. A new tradition to celebrate a big day.
It’s the last day of kindergarten.