My son Malachi will soon graduate from Preschool. Last night, as I was tucking him in (a phrase that describes me tossing a blanket in the air and hoping that it lands where he is), I told him that this was about to happen. “Daddy, what’s graduation”? I explained that graduation is when you finish one thing and move on to the next. “For example”, I said, “Daddy went to high school and finished…barely…and then they let me graduate.” I then went down a road that maybe I shouldn’t have because it was a road that involved explaining high school: locker combinations, band uniforms and tater tots. He didn’t blink for a while.
Graduating from preschool is a milestone. But it’s not the only one he’ll experience. When I finished 6th grade at Douglas Elementary School in Garden City, they had a cap and gown ceremony. I remember that. I also remember my High School graduation — vividly — because I was thinking the whole time that I never took a foreign language course. I kept glancing over at my counselor during the graduation speech – the man who told me repeatedly that I needed to take a foreign language course to get into college. And there I was, about to receive a diploma that didn’t mean bunk because I never took Spanish 1. Se Habla Espanol?
Here’s how preschool graduation is different from any and every other graduation event that Malachi will experience: this is the one that he doesn’t really care about. By elementary school, he’ll be aware of what’s about to happen (Middle School), and by high school he might even pretend that he doesn’t care. While Malachi finds his greatest emotional thrill from managing to get his bike up to “superfast”, his mom and I will be thinking about how fast he’s growing up as we put a notch in the graduation pole.
What. You don’t have a graduation pole at your house?
Neither do we. And even if we did have a graduation pole, Malachi would just wonder what all the fuss was about.