Yesterday was my daughter’s last day of high school.
I’d like to tell you I spent the day reminiscing and going through old photos and school papers while drinking mimosas and wiping away beautiful tears, but that’s not true.
Well, most of it’s not true.
I spent the day working (researching and writing this post for Entertainment Weekly in case you have another minute and a half to spare and want to check it out), making the traditional last day of school cupcakes and wrapping graduation gifts and honestly didn’t have time to go there.
In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best decision. I hate waterproof mascara and now I’ll be packing all the feelings with me to the graduation ceremony tonight.
Last week I pulled out all of her tubs full of forests worth of paper from each year of school and lined them up on my basement bar. Settle down, they stop at sixth grade. But still.
I had every intention of writing a post titled, “The museum of 13 years of school” or something extremely intelligent sounding like that, where I’d take a few things she’d made from each year and either praise it or rip it apart (because I’m such a nice mama), but my week got out of hand quickly.
However, yesterday when she got home from her last last day of school, we sat down and went through the Kindergarten tub together and came across this:
And after laughing about how giant our clothes were and how teeny-tiny her baby sister was (that’s her in the bouncer, obviously), I stopped for a moment to let the simple words she chose to write about our family sink in.
She could’ve written a hundred different things, but when faced with that blank line, my little five-year-old wrote something that might seem pretty standard and basic and even generic to most (stop judging my daughter). But I don’t see it like that. I see a little five-year-old who automatically thought of love when she thought of her family, and not just the feeling of being loved or giving love, but both: “We love each other.”
That’s a legacy I’m proud of. Sure, I’m proud of countless other things about her (especially the fact that that at AGE FIVE she knew that each other was two words, not one). Her self-confidence and humor and humility and integrity are all things I hope I’ve had a part in creating.
But today, her graduation day, I think it all goes back to the words she chose as a kindergartner. That is the feeling I’m happiest about and proud she’s felt her whole life, and as I send her off into the world, I know it will be a feeling she’ll keep close to her, even when I can’t be.
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