Today was Claire's last day of school. It's hard to believe how fast this year went by and how much Claire has changed since school started last September.
Here is Claire on her first day of school.
And here is Claire today.
I keep looking at that first picture and thinking "She looks like such a baby!" And yet, at the time, I thought she was such a big girl. I suppose it will always be that way.
She had a great year at Creative School--fun teachers, great facilities and precious classmates. She learned a lot, both academically (if you call letter recognition and spelling your name academics) and socially. She made some good friends (with girls! yay!) and even declared Elizabeth her "best friend at school" (don't worry, Reid, you're still tops). She got in trouble a few times (there was an incident involving the ripping up of a foam car game) and learned how to take turns and share (for the most part). She learned how to sit still during Circle Time and ask to be excused after Snack. She learned about the weather and the days of the week. She learned her shapes (does a three year old really need to know what a trapezoid is?) and her numbers and how to hold a paint brush and how to use scissors. And she learned that at the end of the day, Mommy always picks her up.
When I picked her up today, I looked in her backpack and found this:
For some reason, I got a little teary-eyed when I saw it, which is ridiculous because it's just the sign that hung on her cubby. But when I saw it, it struck me that this sign represents a part of Claire's life that I was not intricately involved in. Oh, I was involved plenty (if your kid destroys a toy in the classroom, believe me, you'll be involved), but not directly and certainly not intricately. It occurred to me that even when Claire tells me about her day at school, I don't know everything that went on, just the parts that she remembers or feels like talking about. The realization that Claire has a life (even if it's only two days a week) that I am not a part of hit me when I saw this sign.
And, since I was already feeling weepy, I allowed myself to fast-forward 15 years and pictured myself pulling this cubby sign out of some random box on the night before Claire's high school graduation. And I could imagine myself marveling at how fast the time had gone, and how I still thought of her as my baby, and how I couldn't believe she was about to embark on her own life (probably at Harvard, on a full academic scholarship), apart from Jason and I.
I know, depressing, right? But it's not, really. It's a wake-up call. A reminder of how precious these days are and how great is the responsibility of instilling in my kids a sense of who they are and where they come from. So that even when they have their own lives, they'll never have to wonder who loves them or if someone will pick them up at the end of the day.