looking back – kindergarten goodie bag

by ck on August 16, 2013

We waited five-and-a-half years for the grand party that was Kindergarten. Most of my posts from last summer included some kind of countdown to the blessed event. After much anticipation it finally arrived, and now (somehow) it’s over. As we walked away from the school last Friday, teary-eyed and excited for summer, I started going through the bag of assorted goodies ONE came home with. Because really, no matter how good the party was, if the goodie bag sucked, so did the party.

The Blow Pops and M&Ms were that ONE can read, write, tie her shoes, be polite without me around, and, according to her teacher, “…unlike other kids, who use writing workshop times to write things like ‘I’m writing in writing workshop,’ ONE always tells interesting stories and uses great details.” That’s right. It’s in her blood.

There were also a ton of those fun-for-five-minutes toys that fell apart and made a mess everywhere. Like friendships that included fighting, hurt feelings and the threats of “then you can’t come to my birthday party.” Personalities that “came home” in ONE’s backpack and had to be cleaned out before we sent her back the next day. Playdates, attempts at sports, and lots and lots of crafts that I was expected to “do something with.” And the beginning of phone calls so that ONE and her BFF could dress like “twins” and eat “twin” lunches. She *may* have already been heard to have said, “…no YOU hang up first.”

There were also a lot of public tears in Kindergarten. Mine. (Really, there is no excuse.) I cried every time she was on stage. I cried when other people were on stage. I cried when the staff sang Christmas carols in the lobby as we arrived, the 100 days of school party, and when I saw the collaborative art project the Kindergarten class did after they went to the museum and zoo to study animal textures.

I even cried when I read TWO “Knuffle Bunny Free” at the library. The original “Knuffle Bunny” was ONE’s favorite because she had a Grover she took everywhere. And this year? Out of the blue she decided she was growing up, and it was time to let him go. I knew it was going to happen one day, but it still makes me sad.

And then there was the candy dust at the bottom of the bag. The bad jokes, horrific songs, jinxes, super-human germs, “Made You Look” taunts, extending the Witching Hour an extra hour (it now runs from 4-7), and turning our front door into the Whining Threshold from Hades. Naturally these were the treats she shared with her sister, which prompted me to (repeatedly) use an excuse I hadn’t even realized was on deck. The Ol’ “She-Has-an-Older-Sister.” I always thought it was said by parents who couldn’t control their kids and didn’t feel like trying. Now I understand it’s not an excuse per se, it’s a way to explain that her father and I didn’t teach it to her, we’re doing our best to curb it, and in the meantime we’re sorry, but she does in fact “have an older sister…”

For the first time in my (short) history as a parent, I’m not dreading summer break because I know just how short it really is. And while it was awesome to gain back time for myself during the school day, the price was bits and pieces of ONE’s carefree childhood. This wasn’t a bad thing. It needed to happen and she had fantastic teachers to guide her in growing up. Plus I’m still part of her day (both at school and home), but influences are starting to shift and it’s kind of bittersweet.

I remember walking behind her on the first day at school and getting teary-eyed because her backpack looked way too big for a Kindergartener.

But as it turns out, it’s just the right size for a First Grader.

(And don’t think I’m not cheap enough to attempt talking her into using it again next year. Because obviously the reason Kindergarten was so awesome was because of her awesome backpack.)






Colleen June 29, 2011 at 9:03 am

I’m a crier too. I’ll cry this September when I drop off my baby girl to her first day of preschool, and I’ll cry again on her last day next June. Then, I’ll have a full blown panic attack in 14 mos on the eve of the first day of Kindergarten because I’ll have realized how much time I’ve actually wasted of her baby years, and mourn them as she walks in through the door of 13 years of growth and success that I’ll only have a handful of daily hours to partake in. I’m battling the welling of tears just thinking about it.
Congrats to One, moving on to 1st grade is a big deal, and congrats to you…because she couldn’t have done it without having such a great mom to help her sift through all the goodies it sent home with her. :)

Tiffan June 29, 2011 at 9:45 am

I got teary reading about you getting teary! I cry at everything. Seriously. I’m proud of it though…it means I feel deeply, as do you! I’m getting ready to send my baby to Kindergarten and I, like you, am cherishing every moment of this very short summer.

Sara June 29, 2011 at 10:15 am

LOVE how you described the school year like a bag of treats. So true! She has gotten so big! How time flies. The most memorable lesson I learned about James kindergarten year is “It happens.”. Our year was fraught with lots of yellows and a few reds and then weeks of him trying so hard to earn that green. “But, Mommy, it is so hard to be good ALL THE TIME!”. Lol

They sure are an adventure, aren’t they?
Sara´s last blog post ..Lemon & Lime Haiku

abbazgrl June 29, 2011 at 10:27 am

Ahhh, the tears of pride. Funny it seems like just yesterday when I surprised myself by crying at YOUR Kindergarten graduation. Cried like a baby, and you weren’t even my daughter (even though I had wished it enough times).

ck July 1, 2011 at 5:48 am

I used to dream up ways to make you my mom, while also keeping the mom I had. I can’t even begin to tell you how many hours I dedicated to that!

Heather June 29, 2011 at 11:39 pm

I got teary eyed at kindergarten registration last spring and it was all downhill from there. I’m a total crier and I don’t even try to hide it. My kids will even joke about it now. I’m thinking, though, that I’ll likely dance in the streets rather than cry as I send thing one AND thing two off to all day school in September and I have an ENTIRE day to myself…
Heather´s last blog post ..Sticks and Stones

faemom June 30, 2011 at 3:21 am

That was so well written, so beautiful. I can’t believe I have a first grader. I look at him sometimes and I see a boy staring at me, instead of a little boy, and then I freak out and demand that he return to his proper small, cuteness or at least stop growing. Does that happen to you?
faemom´s last blog post ..Night Time Parenting Fail

ck July 1, 2011 at 5:47 am

All the time, Fae. All the time. I’m also starting to wonder why I thought things were so difficult when she was small. (It’s a good thing we can’t have any more kids because this type of selective memory is NOT good!)

Cathy June 30, 2011 at 3:38 pm

I don’t remember when it hit me that these children are only temporary – temporary in each age and stage until one day they are gone. I find that I am often in awe of the stages I see my oldest one approach and go through, but it’s when the last one hits these milestones that really makes me cry.
Cathy´s last blog post ..trust – the lighter side

Claire June 30, 2011 at 11:01 pm

“I remember walking behind her on the first day at school and getting teary-eyed because her backpack looked way too big for a Kindergartener.”
Thank you for this beautiful post! I got a teary-eyed too when my daughter starts her formal schooling. It’s a mix emotion of happiness, sadness because I’m gonna miss her and proud because my daughter is no longer a baby! She is growing so fast!
Claire´s last blog post ..Kids Costumes

ck July 1, 2011 at 5:50 am

That’s exactly how I feel, too. (I’m turning into an all-occasion kind of crier.)

Maria June 30, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Tell me about it. My oldest will be starting fifth (!) grade in the fall. He is one year away from middle school. My youngest will be starting Kindergarten that year. You want to talk about wanting to slow it down? I have no idea where the time went, but I am pretty sure I was in Witching Hour hell for YEARS, and which can explain why my mind is like a sieve…

Happy summer days to you and your big first grader!
Maria´s last blog post ..I Triple Dog Dare you

Kristen @ Motherese July 1, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Oh, how I love this post. You are such a talented storyteller and the goody bag metaphor just knocked it out of the park for me. (It seems that ONE has gotten her gift for storytelling from you, eh?)

And can we discuss that tiger-striped penis project for a moment? Should that be allowed at an art show for kindergarteners? :)
Kristen @ Motherese´s last blog post ..Don’t Worry, Mom; We’re Done Having Kids

Jane July 1, 2011 at 9:55 pm

So beautifully written and so very, very true. I love your spot on analogies. (Just wait ’til they’re going off to college for the first time. Yikes! I can’t believe this is happening to me.)
Jane´s last blog post ..See, Hollywood? Even My Kids See The Difference Between A Book and Your Movie.

Dawn @What's Around the Next Bend? July 1, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Somehow, I didn’t realize that my Sam and ONE were the same age.
When he read a book for the first time, I cried.
When he told me he could tie his shoes himself, I cried.
I have always been proud of how self-sufficient my boys are, but these things made me sad… It made me realized my baby was gone.
Dawn @What’s Around the Next Bend?´s last blog post ..Get ‘cha a ‘Slice of Dawn’

Kelly July 2, 2011 at 11:08 pm

I treasure these firsts — both when my oldest experienced them and when my youngest experiences them. It’s weird to see it happen the 2nd time. You’re more prepared to stop and notice and mourn/celebrate. (Love the back pack and the hair clip!)
Kelly´s last blog post ..Trippin’

Court July 3, 2011 at 11:06 pm

I love the candy dust! What an exciting thing. I can’t even imagine it since Kaiya is still a year away. I’m sure I’ll cry the entire time though.
Court´s last blog post ..fireworks! and movies.

robo July 7, 2011 at 7:08 am

talk about boo-hooing. how bittersweet for me to. You are awesome!

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