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Why I Have the End-of-the-School-Year Blues

On a windy September day at the dawn of the school year, I watched my firstborn child excitedly board the school bus for the first time, her wavy hair and pleated dress gently blowing behind her as she climbed each step. Once inside, she took her designated seat by the window and waved at me while the bus slowly pulled away. When the taillights were barely visible from where I was standing, I finally allowed myself to feel the emotional cocktail of anxiety, fear and happiness that had been welling up inside of me all morning. My daughter—a carbon copy of myself, both physically and emotionally—was officially a Kindergartner.

Fast-forward nine months and here we are, only days away from the end of the school year. Although this summer has potential to be the best one yet—with a trip to an amusement park scheduled, swimming and martial arts classes arranged, and long days spent at the beach with grandparents planned—I find myself feeling sad, knowing that the final ringing of the school bell will signal an end to a transformative time in my daughter's life. While I am certain she could compile a list one mile long of people, places and moments that she will miss once the school year ends, I've selfishly compiled a list of my own.

It's so hard to say goodbye to...:

  • The portfolio of artwork my budding artist has produced, all of which are proudly displayed around our home.
  • The amusing, morning parade my fashionista hosts, during which she displays and describes the outfit she has selected for the day (and no, my opinion rarely matters).
  • The nightly story time that my new reader has seized control over, during which she reads at least one book that fits her chosen theme. (Watching her accomplish such an incredible feat at such a young age—she's reading at the age of 5—truly blows my mind.)
  • The afterschool heart-to-heart convos—a moment that I look forward to having from the minute I let go of my girl's hand each morning—that safely give her the opportunity to share the highest highs and lowest lows of her day, without judgment or criticism.
  • The often randomly timed talent shows that I get to enjoy without ever being asked to buy a ticket, during which my child shows off her vocal chops and insane rhythm (she doesn't get the dancing ability from me, I confess).
  • The lunch-packing assembly line my growing daughter and I have established to give her the opportunity to learn about nutritious foods and contribute in the creation her own meals. (I know I've already said that she is an artist, fashion stylist, singer and dancer in the making, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention her fantastic culinary skills.)

During our upcoming two-month summer vacation, I will personally continue exploring my daughter's creative side (although Pinterest may need to help me out with the crafting bit), encouraging her newfound love of literacy, and engaging her by participating in unique community events; however, while I've still got the opportunity to do so, I must thank all of the individuals this school year who fostered a love of learning, a passion for play, and a desire to dare in my daughter.

First grade, here we come!