Before both my kids "graduated" preschool, I was one of those parents who silently mocked anyone who invested the time, energy, and money into miniature graduation parties, or bragged incessantly about their kid moving from kindergarten to first grade. I mean, what's the big deal? We're not talking about high school graduation, people, or a kid obtaining a degree in, say, microbiology. The transition from preschool to kindergarten is nothing, right? Well, to me it was... until my kids went through it. Now I refuse to apologize for going all-out for my kid's preschool graduation, because I finally get what all the fuss is about.
The day of my daughter's preschool graduation, we arrived at the church she attended early so she could practice walking down the aisle with her fellow graduates. There was something about the way she looked in her tiny cap and gown that forced me to face an undeniable reality: eventually I would have to let her go. One day, she'd leave the nest I've tirelessly built for her. In other words, I was an emotional wreck. She seemed so big and grown up and independent, and yet she was so small and young and needed me.
So there I was, in the audience of an admittedly over-the-top preschool graduation, listening to the group song, watching them parade through the pews, and laughing as they tossed their caps into the air to signify an end of one chapter and a beginning of another. And I was crying. Oh, was I crying. So you bet your you-know-what we celebrated the night away as if she'd graduated high school or college. That was our moment to be proud of not only our little girl, but the job my partner and I had done (up to that point) as parents. So there's no way in hell I would apologize for that party, and for the following reasons:
Because I'm Allowed To Be Proud
I don't get why there's so much pressure to feel bad about being excited about something. As if it's not "cool" to feel unabashed joy. Well, I'm proud of my preschooler for getting through her first year of academia, no matter how "simple" that academia may seem, and I'm not going to act like I shouldn't be excited for her. If that doesn't make me a "cool" mom, well so be it.
Because My Kid Worked Hard
Yes, it's "only" preschool, but that's my daughter's first glimpse of what school will be like for the next 12 (or more) years of her life. She worked hard learning to write her name, practicing the way letters sound, while also learning to be social and get along with other people. It's a lot to ask of a child, especially when they've never done it before, so I think her getting through a year of immense change is worth celebrating.
Because Celebrations Are Fun
What, do you all have too much fun in your lives? Are you sitting around, so maxed-out on fun that you truly couldn't fit a celebratory party into your schedule?
Well, I, for one, look forward to taking advantage of any excuse to have fun. It doesn't hurt anyone to make a big deal out of a preschool graduation and, if anything, it gives my children a chance to enjoy a fun day that deviates from their otherwise set schedule and routine.
Because I Don't Owe Anyone An Apology
Who, exactly, would I be owing an apology to? The fun police? My choice to go all out for my kid's preschool graduation affects no one in the general population. I won't apologize, because there's nothing to apologize for. I'm a mom — a proud mom — and want my daughter to know that. Sorry, not sorry.
Because Doing Well In School Is An Accomplishment
Why do we have graduation parties after high school or college? Because it's an accomplishment, right? Well, a child finishing preschool when they've never been in school before is an accomplishment, too. Making a big deal about academia, regardless of what stage, sets a great example to my kids.
Because I Don't Care What Anyone Thinks
If you want to go all out for your kid's preschool graduation, great. If you don't, that's great too! Either way, it doesn't affect me or anyone in my family. Meanwhile, I'm still not sorry for doing whatever we want to when our kids accomplish anything. You do you, and I'll be over here doing what works best for me and my family.
Because Time Doesn't Stop
My kids are growing the hell up, and fast. I can't pause time, or slow it down. I can't get back any moments that have passed or borrow any time or press pause. We have right now, and that's all I'm guaranteed. If my kid graduates preschool, I'm damn sure going to go all out to ensure this memory means something before they're too grown and jaded by the world to care.