There comes a time that when your little one grows up and finally leaves the nest. But that will not be for another 13 years. Elaina completed her Pre-Kindergarten class and had her graduation ceremony before she headed out to San Antonio, TX for the summer. While it was just one of the many graduation or promotion ceremonies that she is likely that have over the next two decades, it still meant a lot to both of us.
Elaina started getting excited about this day about five months beforehand. She had talked about getting to wear a cap and gown, about walking with the music, and about throwing her hat in the air… and all so she could finally go to kindergarten (she barely missed the cut-off). Even though she is learning a lot in Pre-K, Kindergarten is the real thing, the big time, and she just cannot wait to get there. Every day, we drive by her future school and she tells me how excited she is to go there. So yeah, this graduation was a big deal for her. When the big day came, she only had one question that still needed answering: What shoes was she going to wear with her gown? Knowing my daughter, there was only one pair that was a real consideration and it was that pair that she chose. Her red cowboy boots, of course.
Before the ceremony started, I walked around and took a look at some of the pictures that they had posted around the courtyard. One of the posters had the kids’ baby pictures on them. Elaina was such a newborn when hers was taken that you would have never known it was her if it did not say “Calkins” on the Army uniform.
There were several more posters around the courtyard of the various activities that the children participated in throughout the year. One of the posters had a picture of Elaina and I on it. We were in the process of creating a castle during the month they were learning about buildings. We had a really fun time making it and it is still in her bedroom at home. It was an important activity for her and I made sure that I was there for her. While I cannot have lunch with them every day, I always make it to the important events that the teachers invite me to. Even though it usually means I have to catch up on some work later, I do not want to miss it and never want to let Elaina down.
I sat down in the front row and waited patiently for the ceremony to begin. When the music started, my daughter was the second one to walk out. She look so adorable in her cap and gown; I almost shred a tear of joy right there at the beginning.
From here the teachers discussed how their year went and the children sang a few songs.
After hearing her name, Elaina proudly walked up to her teachers, shook their hands, and then received her diploma. She looked so happy.
After a few more songs, every child went to the microphone to tell the audience what they wanted to be when they grew up. A few children wanted to be doctors, a lot of wanted to be Soldiers, and a few wanted to work at Disneyland (good choice!).
I thought she was going to say that she wanted to be a ballet dancer or that she wanted to be a gymnast. I was very proud of her when she said that she wanted to be a teacher, because that is what I wanted to be before I joined the military.
Afterwards, they moved their tassel from one side to the other on their cap and ceremoniously graduated from Pre-K.
And with that, Elaina graduated from Pre-K, and she would be off to Kindergarten in July. She was still on cloud nine, so we looked around at all her pictures and then took a stroll around her classroom again (she still had to go back to her class the next day, as I still had to work, but I did not want to spoil her special moment).
She called her mother to tell her about graduation and then she took some pictures with her teachers. She had talked about this day for months and it lived up to all her expectations.
So there you have it. Elaina graduated to kindergarten and is about to begin the next phase in her education. As one of their songs went, “No more preschool. No more nap time.” I am so very proud of her. And she was just happy to share it with her Dad. As if there was any doubt whatsoever that my girls are more important than work, or starships, or anything else in this world. Thank you for checking up on us and I hope your little ones’ graduations and promotions went just as well.