The last day of school is hurtling towards us once again and, like many others, I’m completely crazed. I’m trying my best to keep up with end-of-year projects and celebrations while finalizing summer camp logistics and vacations.
Ever since my kids started pre-school, I’ve found June to be a bittersweet month. This year, as my daughters complete Kindergarten and Second Grade, I find myself emotional and nostalgic at the drop of a hat. I’m often reflecting on all that has happened this past school year and how far they have both come.
My little one started Kindergarten at a new school, joining her older sister and navigating new friendships and daily schedules. She was challenged in academics that went far beyond the ABCs and finger paints of pre-school. She reached so many milestones this year – the biggest one being learning how to read. She has come such a long way from sounding out three letter words in September to reading us short chapter books now at night.
She’s discovered a passion for drawing and has a marker or pencil and piece of paper with her at all times. She started piano lessons, became a Daisy at Girl Scouts and lost her first tooth. She tried her hand at musical theater (which she hated) and hip-hop (which she loves).
Each week, I have the opportunity to see her and her little friends at school. She’s well-liked and friendly and I can always find her playing, chatting and having fun in the recess yard. Silly disagreements between her friends last only moments and are quickly forgotten as they move on to the next game of tag. She loves hugging her teacher and gets excited about stickers on her spelling tests and her turn at show-and-tell. She even likes doing her homework.
Her scrapes and bumps are forgotten with a kiss and a band-aid. Her tantrums and tears don’t last quite as long as the ones of last year. She’s comfortable in her own skin and has us laughing with her crazy antics and dance moves at home, while keeping up a much more reserved façade at school. When she snuggles with her bunny at bedtime, she usually has a smile on her face as she falls asleep.
My big girl had a rougher start to second grade as one best friend moved to a different school and the other moved on to a new circle of pals. I’m proud of how she’s handled herself with more complicated social dynamics and overcame the initial heartache of loneliness by exploring and developing new friendships with a wide and sweet group of classmates. Her play-date card remains full and varied.
In school, she buckled down and faced the challenges of math as best as she could and her hard work throughout the year has paid off in a visible confidence. She continues to be an avid reader and has a passion and talent for writing and story–telling. She’s been diligent with piano, loves hip-hop and is proud to be a Brownie at Girl Scouts. She survived two years of religion classes (with lots of complaining) and glowed at her First Communion.
She has more worries than her little sister and her questions and concerns often throw me for a loop. She’s more aware of what is happening in the world, is more sensitive about the words and actions of people close to her and is sometimes too hard on herself. At times, her attitude is too fresh for our liking and, unfortunately, she’s learned how to roll her eyes. Yet, her apologies are still sincere and she’s not one to stew for too long. She still confides in us and seems to genuinely value our opinions and enjoy our time together as a family. There are some days that I find myself reaching for her hand on the walks instead of vice versa, but thankfully, she still instantly responds and still insists on cuddling each night before bedtime.
I take more pictures of them this time of year. It’s my desperate attempt to capture and freeze these moments when my daughters are still little, dependent and carefree. I have many friends and family with older kids and I know what’s ahead – the good and the challenging. I know that when the time comes, I’ll have no choice but to deal with the changes that come along with tweens and teens, as best as I can. I’m just not ready for all that, yet. Five and seven feel like golden ages to me.
With all the events in our world today that scare us to the core and cause worries for our children that should be unimaginable, I am so thankful for another year of milestones, safety, health and happiness.
I’m excited for the summer, for the slower pace and having more time with my girls. I’ll miss little things – like doing my errands solo, or watching The View each morning uninterrupted, but I can’t wait for us to experience new adventures together and watch them discover new places in the world. By the time September rolls around, I’m sure we’ll all be ready to get back to the routine of school and I have no doubt that 1st grade and 3rd grade will be full of their own wonderful milestones, moments and unique experiences.
For now, let’s slow down the clock during the next few weeks and keep them in Kindergarten and 2nd Grade for just a little longer.
Prior to becoming a stay at home mom, Mina was an HR Recruiter for years. Now her time is spent happily juggling the demands of two young daughters while trying to expose them to the endless adventures the city has to offer.
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