A funny thing about endings and me: apparently I'm a sucker for them. I was ecstatic sending her off to kindergarten 6 years ago and yet immediately ready to cry the day of her graduation.
I know that everyone says time flies, and truly it does as you get older, but the proof is startling when you are suddenly faced with key milestones. That 5 year old turned into a 10 year old while I was watching, slowly but surely.
She's the same girl and yet not.
Tears started welling up in my eyes as soon as I read the opening poem in the program:
Congratulations! Today is your day. You're off to Great Places! You're off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who'll decide where to go! --Dr. SeussIt is true that she has brains in her head. I tried to get to them, but apparently I needed to work harder at it.
The song they sang after entering the hall, the words from their teachers, walking across the stage, all of it had me verklempt. The best and worst was yet to come, in the form of the video slide show that one of the mother's put together as a memento. Set to music, they had images from picture day from kindergarten morphing into the 5th grade photo. It was a very dramatic change from cherub-like cheeks and smiling eyes to longer faces and serious expressions. My mother-in-law noted that it's a lot harder to get Caitlin to really smile in photos these days, I know all about it. I think it comes from the embarrassment of ever having relatives that want to photograph you...ever. The happiest and most relaxed photos are when she's with one of her best friends.
Perhaps, like me, she has a height requirement for best friends? "You must be this tall to be my friend." It's not like we're short or anything. They are just tall! (You girlfriends know who I'm talkin' about!)
After the ceremony was over and my newly minted graduate was returned to me I squished her hard. I can't keep her from growing up, but I'll try like hell to pay close attention as she does so.