Last day of Kindergarten

June 7th, 2007 § 0

Just sent Alli off to her last (1/2) day of Kindergarten. As she bounced down the stairs, I couldn’t help but have a whole deja-vu moment of the departure for the first day of Kindergarten in the fall.

First day of Kindergarten, September 2006

Alli, I am endlessly proud of you. You have an enthusiasm for life that I envy beyond words. You have grown so much this year, and I’m not just talking about the nearly two inches that required a whole new wardrobe of pants. You have made great strides in learning how to cope with a body that hears, sees and feels things more deeply than most. You are kind and sensitive and welcoming to others (if occasionally bossy), and have become this social butterfly that I am in awe of. You have made friends openly and easily, and wake up excited every single morning about what the day might hold for you. You even managed to collect a set of adoring fans from the 6th grade! You have asserted your independence in ways I wasn’t prepared for, but in ways that have warmed my heart as a parent who has worked so hard to foster in you a sense of security in yourself. Just don’t pay attention to me walking 3 steps behind you — I’ll be able to stand farther back with time.

You became a leader in your classroom for literacy. Fearless in your pursuit of reading and writing, you astound us every single day with your creativity in finding new outlets for writing, and in your seamless way of integrating reading strategies that you seem to have developed overnight and all on your own. Your creativity in designing projects seems endless, and your awareness about the world around you and continued thirst for knowledge is like a bright beaconing star. I sometimes find little bits of work that you have done around the house, like the little sheet yesterday where you decided to work on adding three-digit numbers, and I wonder how you continue to find the time, the energy, and the brainspace given all that you occupy yourself with on a daily basis.

Most of all, from this year, I think we will all never forget the monkey bars. Taking physical risks has been such a huge challenge for a little girl whose body is more sensitive than most. Still, it has been hard for you to see other kids pursuing feats with ease that terrified you to the core. I comforted you for many years sitting on the sidelines, watching others with a mixture of awe and anger and sadness. The monkey bars, which many of your closest friends at school spent much time crossing with speed and ease, became almost an albatross for you.

About halfway through the school year you mustered the courage to attempt them, and devised a little routine where you were able to reach the 2nd rung while still keeping your tippy toes safely on the top of the ladder, hang for about 2 seconds, and drop. You were so proud of yourself, and we celebrated with you (with only a little chuckle in the back of our throats). Then, suddenly, about a month ago you decided you were ready to give it a real shot, and you crossed the entire set of bars without turning back. I’m embarrassed to say that Daddy and I didn’t quite believe you when you told us you could do them, and we promptly took you to a park under the guise of letting you celebrate (but with the real intent of witnessing what new trick you’d cooked up to make it across without letting your feet dangle). You took off, and put us to shame by zipping across all 12 rungs, no tricks. This was followed by the discovery of a blister and some split skin, which resulted in an hour screaming festival of “I HATE the monkey bars and I’m never doing them again!”, after which you surprised us YET AGAIN and resumed your monkeyness with the bars only a day later, blister still raw.

I have learned never to underestimate you again.

You are my hero.

Love, Mommy

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