5 Things I Learned At Preschool Graduation

1. It’s okay not to smile.

By the time the hour and a half ceremony ended, the shiny polyester robe had run its course. Ryker was clawing it off when he exited the stage. He wanted to go home, sit in his underwear and eat cake. But mom had no less than 30 pictures to take. As you can see, he was not happy about the situation. Quite frankly, that’s life kid. While I don’t allow my children to openly complain or be disrespectful, I do allow them to share their emotions. Nobody likes a faker.

2. Look with your eyes, not your iphone.

At 5-foot-four, sitting in the middle row, it was nearly impossible to get a snapshot without someone’s Smartphone blocking my lens. We (yes, I’m guilty too) experience so many moments through our phones. Are pictures important? Absolutely. Do they capture everything? Not in the least. I was so focused on filming his processional, I forgot to smile and cheer—he was graduating! Instead of seeing first-hand how proud we are of his accomplishment, Ryker and all his classmates will remember a sea of arms and corresponding flashing lights.

3. Families come in all shapes and sizes.

We are incredibly blessed to have both sets of grandparents in our lives. My children don’t realize this is not the norm, but they are starting to understand that families are different. Both Ryker and Willa talk about their classmates—who drops them off, where they went on the weekend, what other parents pack for lunch. Cherish your unit and help your children appreciate their differences.

4. Go ahead, be a superhero.

Kids have limitless expectations and aspirations. Keeping up is exhausting, but watching their determined faces focus on a task is humbling. Today, they believe they can do anything. One day Ryker will stop believing that Spiderman is real, but for now I let him practice his climbing. Stairs, sofas, rocks, swing sets—he’s training for bigger things.

5. Teachers are the real superheroes.

I love my five year old’s grumpy face. Even as a baby, he had a furrowed brow. Like his mom, he’s a processer. Some people mistake his quiet nature for being shy, but not his teachers. When Ryker started Goddard a little over a year ago, he was afraid to raise his hand. We worried about him making friends and planned a growth year before kindergarten. Today I have to chase him down on the playground. He ‘raises a quiet hand’ when someone asks a question, and he helps other new students feel welcome. Ryker’s also the only boy at preschool prom that danced with the girls. Case and point, here he is with his teachers on picture 29—beaming ear-to-ear.

Growing up is hard. I’m still learning so much, especially from my kids. What are some life lessons you learned from your littles this year?

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(Non) Stay-at-home mama raising my three screaming cubs while restoring our 35-acres of wilderness just outside of Cleveland. Copywriter, sheep herder and fixer upper. I live in muck boots, jeans and wear dangling toddlers as accessories.

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