My oldest son’s graduation was today. Yep, graduation in kindergarten. My husband thinks that it is blown way out proportion and that it should have been just “another” last day of school. But, really it isn’t. The kindergartners will be going from half day to full day school; from lunch with mom to lunch with classmates; from spending most of the day with mom or the babysitter to spending most of the day in school. So, it is a HUGE step. And yes, for those of you who personally know me, I cried and I am not the crying type.

mom and boy

While each of the kids stood up on stage and received their diploma, I started to think how in the year 2023 when my son graduates. Kindergarten graduation will only seem like yesterday. I am sure that I will remember exactly what he was wearing and how excited he was to sing a song about going to the first grade that was to the tune of “New York, New York” with a kick line included. (My kid is about 3 inches taller than most kids so the poor kid next to him in the kick line needed a ladder).

The principal read remarks regarding what will be expected in the next twelve years of school and how he believes all of the kids will be able to achieve it. How each year will be marked with different progress and different goals. A sort of map if you will. And, can I tell you in my mind, I wanted to scream to each child “run your own race, this is going to be over with before you know it”.

Our kids are bombarded with goals, tests, achievements, benchmarks… it is truly crazy. Kindergarten is an entirely different beast than what I experienced and the changes are good and bad. My kid is a super reader: Good. My kid knows that the state tests are important: Bad. There is a lack of art and music in kindergarten because of the strict curriculum: Bad. Pay for performance is on the heels of the teachers: Bad. Oh and the fact that we haven’t decided on private or public school for next year: Ummm…really bad. I feel my son is a well rounded kiddo. He has experienced some really cool things as a kindergartner and has made some fantastic friends. But, I want the next 12 years of his life to be full of experiences; academic and social. I want him to live life, I want him to take advantage of opportunities and have a fantastic time. We, as parents, want our kids to be the best at everything; but often times it is at the cost of experiencing childhood.

Make memories with your kids everyday. Remember to give and take hugs all of the time and make certain that you tell them you love them. It seems like only yesterday my son was born in the most snow that Cincinnati had seen in decades and I was looking at his newborn face analyzing if he looked like mom or dad and counting his fingers and toes. Today, he graduated from kindergarten. And, I guess I kind of graduated as a mom. I have gone from having both kids to one kiddo for most of the day. I have gone from running around to get back for pick-up to having 7 hours to myself with Max. I have gone from having one of my best buddies with me most of the time to realizing that I will have a much shorter amount of time to enjoy his company and his humor. I promised not to take the time that I am with him for granted, because there is far less time from here on out. I am going to miss him and his little brother is going to miss him even more. But, he is so excited to be moving on and I will be there to celebrate with him.

Celebrate every occasion and let your child run their own race. They may not be the best student or the star athlete; but with a little parent support they will enjoy being a child if we just let them explore their individuality.

Congrats to all graduates and run your race…no one else can run it for you.