The month of June always brings a certain amount of excitement and anticipation, especially for children and young people. It means the official start of summer, with picnics, barbecues, and camping trips. People look forward to long, warm days, starry nights, even to witnessing the awesome power of a thunderstorm.

June also brings many graduation ceremonies, signaling the end of another school year. While all graduations are important milestones in one's life, Kindergarten is perhaps the most significant.

This is a child's very first graduation, marking the completion of the first year of regular school. It is unique because no matter now many such ceremonies occur in a person's lifetime, there can be only one 'first grad.'

As important as this event is to the child, it is also a big night for parents. This seems to be when we realize that our children are growing up and just beginning to develop lives of their own. Although we feel proud, most of us tend to get a little emotional and nostalgic. Our babies aren't babies anymore.

Several years ago, a friend, who was a school vice-principal, was scheduled to host a Kindergarten Graduation ceremony. She wanted something to read during a break in the proceedings and asked me for suggestions. When she read this poem, audience reaction ranged from tears to laughter.

Kindergarten Graduation

Kindergarten Graduation
Is such a special night,
My heart is filled with pride and joy-
Such is a parent's right!

So now my thoughts drift back in time,
To six short years ago,
When I first saw your tiny face;
My heart with love o'erflowed.

Five tiny fingers on each hand,
Ten perfect little toes,
Pink rosebud mouth, two clear bright eyes,
A perky button nose.

So many tiring, sleepless nights,
When I heard every cry;
Your comfort was my one concern -
I never questioned why.

I watched you grow into a tot,
You learned to crawl - and walk;
So curious 'bout everything;
And soon you learned to talk.

I nursed you through the childhood ills,
Like chicken-pox and mumps;
I mended worn-out teddy bears,
Fixed scratches, cuts, and bumps.

I chased the monsters from your room,
That hid beneath your bed;
But the big one in your closet
We tamed - and called him Fred!

I've cleaned up muddy footprints too,
For mud you seemed to like;
Put bandaids on your skinned-up knees
When you fell off your bike.

When it was time for nursery school,
And finger paints and glue,
You were excited by it all -
I was a little blue.

I had to face reality,
That time was moving on,
You weren't my baby anymore,
Who woke me up at dawn.

I knew that you were growing up,
And learning every day;
I wondered what the future held
As I watched you at play.

Then Kindergarten time came round,
The next big step you took;
You wanted first to learn to count,
And then to read a book.

You brought home pictures that you made -
The fridge held every one!
I listened as you told me of
The things that you had done.

Now here you are, on your big night,
I know it's just the first;
I feel so very proud of you.
I fear my heart will burst!

Too soon the toys will be replaced
By interests all your own;
Too soon you'll be a teenager,
Spend hours on the phone.

Just think what lies ahead of you,
The new ground you can break;
You can do anything you want,
The choice is yours to make.

I'll watch you in the years ahead,
In everything you do;
And don't forget - no matter what -
I will be here for you.

Kindergarten Graduation,
It's such a lovely sight.
May the graduating students
Enjoy this special night.

© 08 June, 1992, Fay Herridge
Published in Newfoundland Herald, Jun 1999


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