Our daughter graduated from preschool yesterday afternoon. She walked down the aisle in the same sanctuary our son did during his preschool graduation when we were stationed here last time. By pure luck, Clay was able to join me in the pew at the last minute and watch our baby sing and dance with her class for the last time. I’m not one to get overly emotional at milestone events – I see so much beauty in the journey and being able to witness my children grow is something I strive to never take for granted. But I admit that there is a hint of contemplation as we move into this new phase of life – parents of elementary school-aged children.
All that remains of the baby years is neatly packed away in their memory boxes. We no longer worry about bringing a stroller, or an extra change of clothes, or snacks when we head out for our adventure of the day. We eat at restaurants without kid menus and we’re able to Uber with ease. And we watch them from the sidelines as they become part of a team that doesn’t require us as active participants. It’s not that they don’t need us. They do. Just not as much as they did.
As we transition into this new phase, we know that pedestals our children have us on now will only get shorter with each passing year. Soon they will think they know better than us and seemingly forget that we were once young ourselves. There will be slamming of doors, rolling of eyes, and lots of tears. But it will be okay. In fact, it will be better than okay – it will be phenomenal. Don’t get me wrong, it will be hard. But then again, it’s been hard since the beginning.
Clay and I aren’t perfect. I’m sure we will make mistakes as we venture into this new phase. Our children will see us fail, they will see us succeed, and I am hopeful that they will always take comfort in knowing that we are trying our best. We are now parents of elementary school-aged children. Bring. it. on.