It seems like only a few days ago I wrote this post about Crisana’s preschool graduation. But according to my blog, that was May, 2008, meaning six years have passed.
And once again, I’m watching those Watercolour Ponies. Except now, they’re a little bigger, a little more well-defined, a little more recognizable.
There are watercolour ponies
on my refrigerator door
and the shape of something I don’t really recognize…
Drawn with careful little fingers
and put proudly on display,
A reminder to us all of how time flies.
* * * * * * * * *
Oh, the pleasure of watching the children growing
is mixed with a bitter cup
Of knowing the watercolour ponies
Will one day
Six years ago, those ponies were in the corral, learning their paces. Now, they’ve begun to canter, to trot and gallop, to discover their abilities and begin to come into their own. Six years ago, in this epic adventure known as “Parenthood”, we ended the chapter entitled “The Preschool Years.” Now six years later, on a day that at one time seemed so far in the future it was hardly comprehensible, we have completed the third chapter, “The Elementary Years.” Our baby officially crossed over, being promoted from elementary to middle school.
We are now officially old.
The graduate awoke early and excited – not all that unusual for her – but this day was extra-special. She wore her special dress and pearls and allowed me to fix her hair for her big day. And when we took the traditional fireplace photos, there was a strange little lump in my throat as I realized just how different things were.
The graduates filed in and we were all welcomed by our principal, Mrs. Little, who offered a brief sentiment and words of encouragement to our children.
But my favorite address, as it always is, came from Mr. McGowen himself, the beloved namesake of McGowen Elementary. What an incredible man. What an incredible privilege to have had the opportunity to meet him and hear his words of wisdom.
And then came the “bridging” ceremony: that moment I had both longed for and dreaded for six years. That moment when we become forced to recognize that our “baby” is no longer that, but rather a young woman discovering who she is and what she can be. She walked across the bridge, shook her teacher’s hand, and received her “diploma”. Just like that, it was done. Six years, finished. Elementary school, done.
There were other awards and recognitions as well. She was recognized for superior achievements in math, demonstrating more than a grade level of growth during the past year:
At this point, it was necessary to remind myself that she didn’t get everything from me. Good looks, most certainly, yes. Sparkling personality, definitely. Brains, well, those apparently came from Dad.
The graduates closed with a few songs and then it was time for pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.
Though the faces have changed a bit as friends have moved in and out of our lives, one thing has remained the same: the sparkle and joy that our girl brings to our lives and those around her. Through it all, we are deeply grateful for those that have come alongside us in our parenting journey, investing their lives into ours – and hers – guiding and directing and teaching her in ways we never could have, providing experiences for her that have molded her character, shaped her beliefs, and strengthened her abilities. So many of them have become more than teachers to us, but genuine friends.
And a final, parting memory with Mr. McGowen. This picture makes my eyes leak. A lot.
But the best part was saved for us. Special moments of celebration with our girl. A girl who has only begun to shine.
A girl who dreams of growing up to be a famous artist that lives in France, and has just enough gumption to make it happen. A girl with a heart as big and wide as this world, and a laugh that makes every day a little brighter. A girl filled with sparkle and spunk, with energy and light. A girl of tenderness and compassion yet determination and toughness. A girl that is all ours.
A girl we are extremely proud of.
A girl who is our shining star.
A girl we absolutely adore.
So let those Watercolour Ponies run. Let them stretch their legs a bit and become a little more surefooted. Let them wander a little farther from the safety of the corral. But don’t saddle up and ride away yet. Let us enjoy your beauty for a little while longer. I think we still have a bit more training to do.