The spring before my daughter started kindergarten, I received an invitation with the stack of artwork she brought home from preschool. The invite read: "You're Invited to Preschool Graduation." I remember thinking, "Is this a thing? This can't be a thing." Alas, it was, in fact, a thing, and worse, it was a thing my daughter desperately wanted me to attend. So I went, but not without thinking a few things about it, because there are so many things moms are really thinking during their kids' preschool graduation, and I absolutely positive I thought them all.
Since my daughter is my first child, I wanted to do everything right (spoiler alert: this is totally impossible). I felt like I'd already screwed up by working outside of the home and getting a divorce so, for a while, I overcompensated big time. I went to every insipid preschool event, from "muffins with mom" to "donuts with dad." I wanted to be a "perfect mom," and when I found out there was such a thing as preschool graduation, there was no way she was going to miss out on the rite of passage. I invited my parents,and we gathered in the preschool auditorium to watch her "graduate" with 30 other preschoolers.
During the ceremony, I found myself thinking many things, starting with, "She's so cute," leading to, "What is the point of this?" and ending with, "Please let this be over soon," all while my 1 year old squirmed in my lap. Then the powers that be decided it would be a great idea to have the kids sit down while they played a cute, but unbearably long, pre-recorded video of the "graduates" saying what they wanted to be when they grew up. This was made more painful by the fact that almost 90 percent of the answers were, of course, Elsa or Batman. The video was even available for purchase. I wish I was joking. Just when I thought it was finally over, they announced there would be cake afterwards. In a room full of preschoolers? Great. So yeah, you bet there were more than a few things running through my mind, including the following:
"She Looks So Cute"
Even cranky curmudgeons like me have to admit that the idea of a graduation ceremony made up of preschoolers is adorable. Of course, anything involving preschoolers can become less adorable in an instant, though. Between the kids who cried, chewed on their hair, sat down on stage, peed their pants, and the rest who couldn't really follow the instructions, it was like a day at, well, preschool.
"Please Don't Swear"
Please, dear child, now is definitely not the time to tell everyone the words mommy occasionally uses at home or in the car when she's losing it. Please don't swear. Oh sh*t. Too late. Dammit.
"It Was So Adorable When You Waved At Me"
My heart melted, and I felt so happy, when my daughter waved and shouted, "Hi, mom!" It was so cute it hurt a little, right in the middle of my heart. I'm not crying, you're crying.
"You Can Stop Waving Now"
But, seriously, you can stop waving, now. You saw me, we had a moment, and you can totally stop, now. Pretty please?
"Please Follow Directions"
I knew my daughter, along with her classmates, had practiced, so I wanted her to do things right because it mattered to her. I didn't, however, want to be one of "those parents" who tried to mime what their kids were supposed to be doing or cue them from the wings. I hoped that my kid would not screw up, but didn't care quite enough to become a "dance mom."
"What Is The Point Of This, Again?"
Before my daughter had one, I had never heard of preschool graduation. I get it, sort of. I mean, it is a rite of passage. Honestly, though, they are 4 and 5 years old, so they are totally going to mess up and not necessarily in the cutest of ways. Besides, if I wanted a photo op with my preschooler, an auditorium full of other preschoolers and their parents would not be my first venue choice.
"Please Stop Lifting Up Your Skirt"
OMFG don't lift up your skirt. I swear, you are killing me. Please don't. And, while you are at it, can you please stop waving?
"I Can't Believe They Spelled Her Name Wrong In The Program"
I couldn't believe that, with the amount I was paying for a great preschool (we're talking a larger than my mortgage payment amount, you guys), that they couldn't even spell her name correctly in the program. I mean, she has a very easy-to-spell name, and had been in attendance there for a while. (Maybe I did care?)
"Down In Front, There Are People Behind You!"
Even though things weren't perfect, I totally wanted 500 pictures (just slightly different from each other) and a video of their song and dance routine. So, yeah, I seriously wanted the parents in the front row to sit the hell down and let me have a turn. We were making memories, after all.
"Do They Really Think 30 Preschoolers Can Behave For An Hour On Stage?"
The entire event felt like something expected, as in almost an obligation, which made me wonder who started this "tradition" in the first place? The last place I generally want to go with my preschooler is a place where they are expected to sit or stand still for over an hour, and definitely not one where they are expected to follow directions. It was as if the person who planned the event had never met a preschooler before.
Still, those 500 pictures I took during the ceremony are pretty damn cute.