I cried today at preschool. I never cry about this kind of stuff and yet, there I was, seated in the front row on a tiny preschool-age chair with my knees at my chest and Tobias at my side, crying about a poem and song and two of my children moving on to a new stage of life.
Several weeks ago, Josephine and Desmond came home from school talking about the caterpillars they planned to watch grow into butterflies. They drew in an observational journal and lectured me on chrysallis and rejoiced when the painted ladies broke free and spread their wings.
Their teacher planned a Butterfly Release Party and for weeks at quiet time, Josephine sat behind her closed door and practiced a song in a low whisper: "Kindergarten here we come, here we come." She also practiced "Chim Chimney" from Mary Poppins and "Do-Re-Mi" from "The Sound of Music," both of which she performed at the Broadway-themed Spring Concert on Wednesday. But what about the kindergarten song?
The kids gathered today in a half-circle in front of us - parents and siblings - and recited "The Caterpillar" by poet Christina Rosetti, then acted out the life cycle of a butterfly before they moved on to the last item of the program: End of School Poem and Song.
I turned the camera to video mode and hit record.
Here's what they said and sang:
"We started out little just like the egg and we ate and we grew and we stretched our legs and we learned a lot as we went along: how to count, how to play, how to sing a song, how to write our letters, how to kick a ball, how to be very quiet in the hall.
So here we are and they'll be no crying, cause we got our wings and we're ready for flying up to...
Kindergarten here we come, here we come.
Kindergarten here we come, here we coooome.
So long preschool, it's been fun.
Kindergarten here we come, HERE WE COME!"
And I cried because I'm so proud of them, so awed by their dramatic growth this past year. I had a conversation with Desmond last weekend about the Civil War and something he read in an impossibly long, complicated book one afternoon by himself. And I watched him write a letter to his teacher tonight when he could barely write his name at the start of the school year. Josephine stood outside the door to the classroom today as families arrived and handed out "Butterfly Party" programs with art designed by her.
They have grown from eggs. They ate and grew and learned so much it blows my mind. Of course, they have wings. Of course, they're ready to fly. Watch out kindergarten, here they come!
And now I'm crying again.