Mommy A to Z

Motherhood, Alphabetized.

My Baby Is Graduating Preschool, and I’m a Mess



I didn’t cry at my daughter’s preschool graduation. When my little girl walked across that stage in her miniature cap and gown, I felt many things. Amazement at how much she’d grown in just a few short years. Pride in the girl she was becoming, who cared about others and was curious about the world around her. Anxiety that my camera might fail, and I’d forever miss my chance to memorialize this fleeting rite of passage.

And yet, in the midst of all those emotions, I didn’t cry. Which is rather surprising, as it doesn’t take much to get the waterworks going here. Yesterday I cried at the end of Disney’s Descendants. Looking back at my daughter’s graduation, I think it had to do with the baby I was holding in my arms. I could accept my daughter moving on from preschool as the beginning of an exciting new journey. Nothing was really ending, because my son had his preschool years ahead of him.

But this week it’s my son’s turn to graduate. This week, I’ll watch my little boy, my last baby, proudly walk across that preschool stage in his cap and gown, the great unknown of kindergarten looming ahead of him. And I’m kind of falling apart.

Somehow I took it for granted that these sweet, preschool years would continue to stretch like Play-Doh, endlessly filling our lives with joyful colors and textures.

I took it for granted that there would always be Mother’s Day and Father’s Day breakfasts filled with mini-doughnuts and construction-paper collages.

That there would always be red scribbled portraits of Mommy sent home in his backpack.

That there would always be circle time, and children singing about the weather and welcoming each other to class each day.

That there would always be group walks to the park, hours of play time, and homework-free evenings to kiss and cuddle.

That my baby would always light up when one of us arrived to pick him up, bursting with news about his day, happy to be going home to the best place he knows.

And now, suddenly, the preschool years are over. Just like that.

Yes, I know it’s not really “just like that.” If I think hard I can remember that blur of tear-filled hellos and good-byes, pastry-filled holiday parties, and family projects constructed of glue and tin foil. But today, suddenly all I can see are those front doors. The ones I walked through hundreds of times, my child’s hand in mine, stressed because I was running late, my mind running through the day’s tasks ahead of me.

Suddenly, all I can see is that we’ll never walk through those doors again.

I believe the cliche that as one door closes, another one opens. The adventure of elementary school awaits, and it’s a long and rich one, filled with fresh discoveries and amazing new worlds of letters and numbers. I look forward to sharing this journey with my children. But still I struggle to end this chapter. Still I struggle to say good-bye.

This time, when I watch my child proudly walk by in his cap and gown, things will be different. This time the good-byes will mean something new. The preschool years nurtured my babies, as they finger-painted and danced their way through toddlerhood. This time, when we walk out the door, it will be the end of early childhood.

And there will be tears.

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  1. Very moving and well written.

  2. I hear you… we are fast approaching this. I only have two children, both boys, one will be starting 4th grade in the fall, the other his last year of Pre K. I’m not sure how I’m going to get through it all. I’ve been lucky enough to stay home with them through baby and toddlerhood, but once my baby goes into Kindergarden, I need to work again. Hoping I can manage to juggle it all, and still spend time with them before they are grown up.

  3. Hang in there mommy! Those of us with older children understand your feelings. But you have to save some tears for Middle School Graduation, where my daughter collected so many academic awards, I went through half a box of Kleenex! Then you have high school graduations to get through. And if you are lucky and blessed enough to help get them through college, you can watch your babies with great pride, and have that Kleenex ready! Both my sin and daughter have their BA university degrees.Meg graduated Summa Cum Laude, even though she had to repeat kindergarden!
    Life is full of surprises, so enjoy every precious moment. BYW, both my kids are living at home with my husband and me for financial reasons. It never ends!
    Please come visit our rescue pups blog, it is family friendly. I HIGHLY recommend for you at this point, the entry “MICHAEL”
    It is perfect for what you are going through,and there is a beautiful original song there, ” TEDDY LOVES ME”
    Good luck mama! Please check out that entry, and cry as much as you want!

    • PS I loved your beautiful post.
      Poignant, well written and made me cry!
      Your babies are lucky to have such a living mom you did make me remember those amazing early years!
      I look forward to more mommy stories. And again, please check out our doggie bloggie. There are a lot of free downloads of songs I wrote for children and families the ages you have!
      Again for you mama, see “Michael” entry

  4. I’m right there with you. It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

  5. Yes you are right when one door closes, another one opens. It is very nice article and you written it very well. Thank you so much.

  6. Oh I’m really touched with this. My son is now in nursery, I couldn’t imagine that he grow up so fast.

  7. yes definitely the time keeps on running. we always feel that we have enough time with our kids, but, actually we do not. we feel that there are only memories left with us.

  8. my little boy starts preschool this fall…I will remember to treasure these years. This was beautifully written.

  9. Omg my daughter is only 2 but I feel like preschool graduation is right around the corner!

  10. Our first is just about to head off to preschool. Right now I’m looking at “I get a break from one for a few hours today”. I know the second he walks out the door I’ll feel the exact opposite.

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