Candace Ganger

7 Things You Feel When Your Kid Graduates Preschool

Well, today's the big day. I've been dreading it for about two years now, but I just can't avoid it any longer. The time is now. My darling baby boy is on his last day of preschool, and I have a lot of feelings about it. Probably too many feelings. As the mother of a soon-to-be fifth grader, and now a soon-to-be kindergartener, I'm caught in a weird mix of emotions. Some things you feel when your kid graduates preschool are totally legit, while others, well, I'll let you be the judge.

It's no secret my son and I are incredibly close. He's known as my rainbow baby — born after two miscarriages — and his existence has literally revived my broken heart. I also love my daughter, his older sister, who is absolutely amazing in her own right. When she graduated preschool, I shed some tears thinking of how big she suddenly seemed walking down that aisle, but today isn't about her. Nope, it's about my baby. My son exists on the assumption that I'm the greatest human on the planet. He was born thinking I'm it, he reminds me daily, and there's little he does that doesn't amaze me.

My son's always been on the shy side until he's comfortable, so watching him make friends has been a beautiful thing to witness. He's quiet, but always listening, taking everything in to use at the appropriate time (which is usually when we're in public and he wants to have an embarrassing conversation), and doesn't miss a beat with his uncanny quips. Our relationship is my infinite sunshine on days I wake with dark clouds hovering over, so to think of my little guy leaving preschool to enter "big kid school" next year makes my heart simultaneously ache and swell. Motherhood is so very complicated, isn't it?With that, here's the wide range of emotions I've experienced over the last few hours.


I didn't realize how quickly time had passed until I saw my baby standing beneath the awning of his preschool. Because I work from home and see my kids all the time, the days feel so long. I take for granted how short the years are. Today, as I took pictures, a parade of sadness marched out of me. I suddenly missed my youngest so much, even though he was right there in front of me.

Seeing my (almost) 6 year old ready to transition to school with the older kids made me long for the days he was an infant. I could snuggle him without him pushing me away. I could hold him as long as I wanted. I could just look at him and feel like everything had fallen into place. Now today's graduation feels like the first time I'm having to let go, and that hurts more than I thought it could.


When my son started preschool, I had my doubts. He isn't the social butterfly his big sister is, so I worried he'd have difficulty making friends. He's intelligent with things he's passionate about (like everything Marvel), but as far as school subjects, I feared he wouldn't catch on.

Much to our surprise and delight, he's exceeded everything we thought he'd stumble over. He has friends he'll miss over the summer, he's learned to write his name, and can sound out words as the precursor to reading. I knew he could do these things, but he did them his way, on his time, and I think that's why I'm feeling so emotional over the end to this chapter.


When I pause the sorrow button on my heart, I can't help but think of everything my boy is going to do. While he's told me he wants to be a "karate master," a "singer and dancer," and a "superhero," I know because of the confidence preschool instilled, he's capable of anything. Watching him blossom over the last two years has been such a privilege (plus, he's had an amazing teacher) so I can't wait to see what he'll do with that potential in kindergarten.


Once he left his school for the last time in his young life, and the excitement waned, we stared at each other with the similar sentiment of, "Well what now?" When my daughter arrives home from her last day of school tomorrow, she'll no doubt draw, play with friends outside, or find any number of things to entertain herself. My son, however, isn't like that. I honestly don't know what he'll do with all this free time, and I don't think he does, either. Yay!


It's setting in now. My baby is a preschool graduate, but also, my baby is staring at me. He's bored. He has nothing to do. He's asking a million questions about when he'll see his friends again, how he'll "survive" in the big school, and when I'm going to finish working so I can play with him. This is only the first day of summer break. I'm not exactly excited to hear these words every day for the next three months.


My son never attended preschool on Friday so, really, I've had a test run of what my new version of normal will look like every day until school starts up again. Let me tell you, it's really frustrating.

Working from home means I'm here, but not really. I can get them things they need (food, etc.), but between certain hours I'm "at the office." I love it, and for the most part they do, too. But in my experience, getting through the first few weeks of summer break are a difficult adjustment. The days are so, so long.


The hardest part of all of something so seemingly innocuous as preschool graduation, boils down to the fact that my baby is growing up. He's no longer the sweet infant I held for hours on end — the one I hoped for, through loss and heartache — because he's not a baby. As much as I wish for summer to be kind, I also want to hold onto both kids while they're still young enough to let me.