Saturday, May 31, 2014

Kindergarten Graduation

I'm not usually a big fan of all the graduating, I mean high school, yes, university, yes, but preschool, pre-K, KG, it gets a little excessive. While I do believe in celebrating the little things in a big way, I want my kids to know it takes a lot of time and a lot of heart to earn things worth great celebrations. However this was different, Sam earned this graduation in a very big way as did a lot of his classmates. 

These kids aren't any kids. They've seen so much more than the average Kindergartener. They often already speak several languages and have already seen all sides of the world. They've said more goodbyes to friends and families and moved more times than the average adult and they are only six. I was percent behind the graduation of this class.

Sam, joined his Kindergarten class a few months late, but he dove right in. We asked him if he wanted to wait until after the Christmas break to start school and he decided to start right away, with only two days until the long break. He maintained his joyful spirit as he navigated being the "newest kid" at his first big boy school, and I mean big. There are children from preschool to grade 12 and they are from over 100 countries throughout the world. 

Sam learned to read. He was a little behind the other kids, but now reads everything. Everything. And is even reading to his little brother and sister at night.

He made a ton of friends and maybe even a darling little girlfriend who he must say "goodbye" to next week when she and her family leave to go back to the USA. I'm being gentle with his little heart, because, while I know it isn't anything serious, it is something that makes Sam giggle and Evalina is someone that made his transition here to Chennai so much smoother. 

Sam rides the bus to school each morning and takes it home most days, nearly an hour in either direction. He has friends of all ages on the bus and when the occasional parent rides the bus with them I am always sure to hear that Sam said "hello" and "goodbye" politely when often other kids don't. He pressed through the first month of school, nearly collapsing from exhaustion when he finally made it home around 4:30pm. Now he skips off the bus with a smile on his face and I wait for him to ring our doorbell 16 times to wave to his bus monitor and usher him inside to cool down, have a snack and play with Pete and Clem or watch a few cartoons.

Sam was asked to introduce his class at their graduation ceremony on Wednesday, by his teacher, along with one other child from each of the three kindergarten classes at his school. He stood proudly and spoke clearly as he welcomed the classes of KG-A,B & C to the stage and congratulated them on their graduation. I could never have done that, not even now. He must get this from his Daddy. In fact, I know he does.

They sang "First Grade Here We Come!" while pumping their tiny fists and we waited as the teachers read off a list of what each child aspired to be when they grew up. We waited and waited, wondering what Sam had chosen today: fireman, construction worker, train engineer?  Finally they read "Painter" and Sam stood up proudly holding his sign with an artist and a palette filled with little drops of color. (I might have cried there, too.)

ETA: I just actually looked at the poster up close, it's Painter, as in "House Painter," not "Artist Painter." Which, is perhaps a little more reliable, but not nearly as fabulous, in my humble and poor freelance artist opinion. Also you should know that the little girl standing up who wants to be a scientist is Sam's lady-friend, Evie. 

Paul and I were a mess. A tiny glimpse at the future of sobs and kleenex passes at his high school graduation. We celebrated with a small family party for dinner. Clem helped me make the cake, Peter set the table and I hung used car lot-like banners. We ate Greek pitas, cake and frosting from a box (Sam's favorite) and sang "Happy Graduation to Sam" a time or two and let him blow out candles and make a wish for first grade. I'm hoping it wasn't for a new girlfriend. 

Congratulations Sam!

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