I had a lump in my throat as we drove to Kindergarten Parent Orientation Night. It all felt very bittersweet, and my heart felt heavy. My Maddie… going to kindergarten next year. She is ready. I am not.
I sat next to the my husband in the crowded auditorium among hundreds of other parents. My eyes fell on the rock climbing wall, and I whispered to my husband, “Maddie will love that wall.” The bulletin board in the corner proudly displayed, “I Can Tie My Shoes!,” and I wondered if Maddie’s name would be there next year.
The microphone screeched, and the principal began, “Good evening. Welcome to Parent Orientation Night. We are so glad you are here. How many of you are sending us your first-borns?” My hand shot up in the air. The principal covered her heart with her hand and smiled a sad smile. “It’s so bittersweet for you, I know.” Suddenly, my heart felt lighter.
I listened to the principal talk about bus schedules and so many volunteer opportunities and curriculum. As her presentation ended, she said, “If you’re wondering how best to prepare your child for kindergarten this summer, just do one thing. Drive by the school often. If you have family members visit from out of town, drive them by, too. Come play on our playground as often as you can.” My heart felt lighter.
“Thank you for coming,” she continued. “When you go home this evening and your child asks ‘What did they say?,’ just tell them one thing. I cannot wait to meet them.” I knew that she meant it. My heart felt lighter.
Next, we visited some classrooms. This building is a kindergarten center, designed and built with kindergartners in mind. Everything is clean and colorful and tiny. Everything is designed for five-year-olds. My heart felt lighter.
The classroom teacher spoke about curriculum and snack time and backpacks. She smiled a lot. She talked to us about scissor technique and proper pencil grip. She showed us how to teach our children these important skills. Then she said, “And if your child is having trouble with any of this, please don’t worry. It’s okay. We take them as they are.” My heart felt lighter.
This is the right place for Maddie. It is the right place, and it will be the right time, come August.