My Smallest Thing

“Sometimes,' said Pooh, 'the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” ― A.A. Milne

Yesterday was Maya's pre-k "graduation". They don't call it that, they call it a "moving on ceremony". I approve of this since graduation implies being finished and Maya has just begun her schooling. Not to mention, she is not going anywhere, except for the kindergarten classroom down the hall.

Still it is an emotional time for these preschoolers and their mommies. (Not the daddies. I am not saying  the dads are not proud. Just that they are not emotional.. Also they are too busy thinking about football season returning in August and what they are going to grill this weekend. Who me stereotype? Never!) The kids in Maya's class sang three songs for us. They got a "diploma." We took a lot of videos and photos with our cellphones and IPads. We ate breakfast together. Then the grownups went home and the kids went about their day.

Despite the ceremony, Maya still has three days left in this school year. Today when I dropped her off, the classroom walls were bare and her teacher handed me a giant folder full of all her artwork, which I proceeded to hang all over my apartment. (I am sure by third grade it will all go in the closet but for now it is still pretty cool.) Her extra clothes have come home. Soon her blanket that she uses at naptime (this was the last year she will nap in school) will also be returned. By Wednesday there will be nothing left of Maya in this classroom where she has spent so many happy hours. And in September it will start all over again, for the classroom, and for her.

I remember the end of the school year well, the goodbye gifts, the empty cubbies. When you are a teacher you do this every year until each class blends together with the one before it. You remember some kids because they were special (like Lincoln from My Little Village, I still wish I could hug him every day) or because they were difficult (little biting boys who will remain nameless) but mostly it is a blur of paint covered fingers and sticky faces. 

When you are a mommy it is different. This is Maya's one and only end of pre-k and I want to hold on to all of it, the songs she sang over and over until they invaded my dreams, her pretend teacher games that I find so irritating. I want to schedule a playdate for every day of the summer to insure that she never loses touch with the "best friends" she talked about all year. (although many of them will be in her kindergarten class) Most of all, I want to hold on to the image of Maya at 4, because I know that Maya at 16 will come far too soon.

So bear with me blog readers, while I indulge in a moment of pure self absorption. There is a little girl, with blond hair and brown eyes. She is wearing a fancy dress and a headband (she likes them now). She is singing a song that she made up and twirling on her toes like a ballerina. She loves pasta and playing in the water. She likes to be tickled and hung upside down and cuddled underneath a blanket. She likes chocolate ice cream cones and Barbie dolls but when you let her pick her own treat at the store she buys crayons. Every time. This is my Maya.

She is off to Kindergarten.

Holy crap! How did that happen?