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Goodbye, Preschool

You've probably seen -- or even participated in -- a preschool graduation. Several antsy five-year-olds stand around with paper hats and loosely bound scrolls declaring their ability to identify numbers and count to twenty. Choked up parents wave and smile, snap pictures and shoot video. I've always observed this little ritual with the same thought in my head.

What a silly thing.

It's not like this is Harvard, people. We're talking about preschool. This seemed like excessive celebration for minor academic achievements.

Until it happened to my kid.

It's not so much what Grace has learned that I'm thinking about as she prepares to move on to kindergarten (though I am proud of her), it's the friends and relationships what will end. When Grace started school, she was powerfully shy. Her teachers always told us that she was a compliant kid who followed the rules, but that she didn't always participate in the activities.

She hovered at the circle. She observed music time. She played solo on the playground. And let's not even talk about the nightmare of The Sock Hop.

Then she became friendly with the other shy girl, and my wife and I were grateful. Grace talked about her at home. The teachers told us, "Those two are inseparable." We arranged after-school playdates and did our best to encourage that relationship. Today, I firmly believe that this friendship benefited both kids tremendously, and I'm very grateful.

But, we live in different towns and different districts. I'm sure we'll see each other over the summer, but then September will arrive with its own distracting demands and adventures, and we'll talk less until, eventually, that little girl to whom I'm so grateful, who was my Grace's very first best friend, is a memory.

Thank you, dear friend, for sharing a bit of yourself with my daughter. Good luck in kindergarten. I'll always appreciate what you've given my little girl.


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