My daughter graduated today. She did not earn a high school or college diploma. She completed preschool.
According to some people that is not an accomplishment. A local TV news reporter sent out a tweet mocking preschool graduation. She criticized our “every kid deserves a trophy” society. She even went on to say graduating from preschool was “something that didn’t take any accomplishment at all to finish.”
I am certain preschool teachers would disagree. Learning the ABC’s, to write your name and count is an accomplishment. It’s also kind of important. This reporter isn’t a teacher. She doesn’t have any children. Does that mean she doesn’t have the right to have an opinion? No, it means she doesn’t know what the hell she is talking about. There are some things you just cannot understand until you become a parent. There is value in preschool graduation. It gives a child confidence and encouragement. It’s a day for parents to reflect and celebrate a milestone. For me, it was a day to cry uncontrollably in public without being carted away in a strait jacket. I let loose an ugly, nose running cry. I didn’t have any tissues. So, I wiped my eyes with an old napkin from the bottom of my purse. It had a few crumbs and a penny stuck to it. I wonder how Abraham Lincoln feels about being on the coin that causes headaches and utter disappointment. Have you ever heard anyone say with enthusiasm, “I have a few pennies!” No. Have you ever tried to give a toll booth worker pennies to cover your fare? You might as well throw garbage at them. They get pissed! We even give pennies away. You will never see a Give a dime, take a dime jar at a convenience store.
I looked like a raccoon 5 minutes into the ceremony. The napkin was apparently made of sand paper, irritating the skin around my eyes. The more I tried to stop crying, the harder I cried. I was so proud of my daughter. The little girl who was afraid to speak to a classmate in September has blossomed. I cried a little for me, too. I will never experience this moment again. Like a gas station bathroom, my uterus is out of order.
Then, they busted out the picture slide show with the somber music playing underneath. Do you remember when you broke up with a boy/girl in school and would listen to Sade cassette tapes in your bedroom to make yourself cry? It’s kind of like that.
It seems like yesterday I was holding my daughter in my arms for the first time. It seems like yesterday that my 14-year-old was wearing the same paper graduation cap and walking down the aisle to “Pomp and Circumstance.” It’s not a silly ceremony. It is, tears and all, a day I will cherish forever.