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The End Is Near

If there’s anything worse than
realizing your baby is about to be a kindergartener, it’s
realizing your baby is about to graduate from kindergarten.

And be a first grader.

Kindergarten still retains some illusion
of babyhood; some deceptive softness to the name, the lack of a
numeric grade assignation, something. But first grader: no getting
around it, your child has solidly landed on the “kid”
side of the fence.

Not that I haven’t already seen evidence of it:
Maddie’s the youngest in her class, but one of the tallest
even so. She’s all coltish legs and gangly arms, and when she
does the Chicken Polka Dance her hiney-waggling bear disturbing
hints of more adult wiggling to come.

But I’m trying to ignore it, I really am. I’ve still
got a girl who loves to snuggle, and when she climbs in my lap and
folds her long limbs into a ball and burrows close I can pretend
she’s a toddler again, my firstborn, my baby. But it’s
getting harder.

Today is Maddie’s Kindergarten Revue – the
school’s substitute for kindergarten graduation. There will
be a short program with songs and speeches and little performances,
then a two-hour party in the park while the kindergarten class runs
wild. I will go, I will applaud, I will faithfully video-tape, I
will even get misty-eyed.

But you can’t make me like it.


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