Kindergarten Eve

I made it! I’m the mom of a kindergartener!! I don’t know where the time has gone…no seriously, you’d think you’d be able visibly to see time oozing out of my closets and dangling from my drawers; from anywhere one might try to shove something she was trying to hide, like piles of dirty of laundry.

Over the past five years, there have been many days that dragged on without end in sight. At times, it seemed the clock stood still. In those time-intensive, patience-testing, full-on-attention-demanding days of early childhood, time felt more like a wounded sparrow; it was hard to imagine that she actually might fly again some day. Yet fly she does.

Back in the spring, during a momentary lapse of sanity, I wondered if perhaps I should homeschool my kids. It didn’t take long to come around; I’d be doing us all a great disservice. My five-year-old has been ready for school since she was a toddler. In fact, what she’s really been ready for is the military or at least her own troop to command but I think a classroom full of 22 students might suffice. She’s ready.

We’ve had an off-the-charts, terrific summer. I’ve enjoyed my kids, my kids have (for the most part, I think) enjoyed me and on many occasions, have even enjoyed one another. By the infrequency of my blog posts (here’s the last one I  had time to write), I found few spare moments in which to write about it. We went on daily excursions, frequent road trips and multiple out-of-town adventures. The kids experienced a variety of camps,  went on their first fishing trip, tried out camping and spent many, many hours swimming in the nearby pond.

The weeks were unpredictable, spontaneous, exciting and traceable only via plans penciled in the family calendar on the kitchen wall. But by the end of this week,  once again we shall revel in the security and familiarity of predictable routine.

I often bemoan the antiquated, American scholastic year. How it follows an agrarian calendar completely irrelevant to urban society. Why kids need to get out of school at 3 o’clock is beyond comprehension. What fields do they need to come home and till? And having a whole summer off to work the farm is simply ludicrous in modern times. Yet, would I fall to the ground on bended knee, thank the principles that be and exhale yogicly if I didn’t have 10 whole weeks to experience life without it? Perhaps not.

So without missing an opportunity to start a new family tradition, tonight, on Kindergarten Eve, each child, bathed, brushed and pajama’d, was given a small wrapped gift. Each a book that somehow represents who or where they are on their short-life’s journey.

For the Kindergartener—who made me read Kate DiCamillo’s The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane not once but twice this past year; the same child who begged us for a mouse but instead go a hamster, the very muse that loved Jack Johnson before Big Bird—she received The Tale of Despereaux.

For the Preschooler—whose mother wants to keep him young for just one more year; who lives in a house walking distance to a Hundred Acre Wood, who can be a very silly little bear—he got A.A. Milne’s, Winnie the Pooh (no link needed).

I’m all for starting new family traditions and plan to keep this one up for years to come. Viewing these special gifts leaning side-by-side on a bookshelf will be yet one more way to mark the passage of time, somehow going faster each year.

So tomorrow, with a skip in my step and a lump in my throat, I, and the rest of our wee family, will walk our new kindergartener down the hill to school, kiss her on the forehead and marvel after her as she marches down the hall with her battalion. And then, I’ll hurry home, throw wide the closet doors and hunt for all those missing articles of time, stealthy tucked away in crannies around my house.

17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Wendy Lawrence
    Aug 30, 2011 @ 21:48:55

    Good luck! I have two years ’til my first one goes…I hope it doesn’t go too quickly! 🙂


  2. Caitlin
    Aug 30, 2011 @ 22:10:17

    Wonderfully written post. Lovely to take the time to craft traditions in the midst of the rushing river of life.


  3. elizabeth
    Aug 30, 2011 @ 22:13:21

    Love this post! “A skip in my step and a lump in my throat. . .” Happy first day of kindergarten, E! (And K!)


  4. Jennifer R.
    Aug 30, 2011 @ 22:34:26

    Enjoy this wonderful year!


  5. Susan
    Aug 31, 2011 @ 07:55:49

    This may be your most beautifully written, and it certainly brings a tear to my eye. Really, before you know it, you’ll be writing the same things on the eve of her going to college. So treasure these days. The book idea is wonderful. I hope you wrote the comments about “why” that book in each of them, so they can look back and see who you thought they were at the time.


    • growingmuses
      Oct 01, 2011 @ 21:25:45

      Thanks Susan, after you made the suggestion, I made sure to transcribe the reasons above into the dedication of the book. I also printed out a copy of this post and taped it on the inside back cover for future reminiscing. Thanks for reading…and everything else too.


  6. slightlywonky
    Aug 31, 2011 @ 08:15:33

    Oh my gosh…it’s such a big step, right? I hope that her first day is super fun, and that you don’t blubber too much! I really can’t believe how time flies. I remember her on her tummy in Red Hall making cute squeaking sounds. I hope that this school year brings you both a lot of “personal growth” and general fun!


  7. cecile
    Sep 11, 2011 @ 09:44:18

    I love your new tradition… I might copy it. Even if they already started here too. And Eau Claire’s only bookstore, Border, is closing. It will be a “third week of school” gift, for us, then.
    Happy school days, E. !


    • growingmuses
      Oct 01, 2011 @ 21:27:36

      Thanks Cecile, there were so many wonderful traditions you had (like the advent books and the homemade ornaments) that I wanted to adopt too so you’re most welcome to this one. I’m always looking for more excuses to buy good children’s books.We miss you.


  8. Heather Kelly
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 09:01:00

    Found your blog! 🙂

    Love the book picks for your kids–those are two of my favorite out loud reads!

    And I’m loving the visual of stashed time. I can’t believe that Cowgirl (my affectionate name for C on line) is in kindergarten as well. Here’s hoping for a happy, healthy, world expanding year for the girls!


    • growingmuses
      Oct 01, 2011 @ 21:29:14

      Thanks Heather, for finding my blog and for commenting. I look forward to reading your writing too. Feel free to suggest good kids books anytime. I’m ALWAYS in the market. Another blogger, Wendy Lawrence, keeps a pretty good kid lit blog ( check it out when you get a chance, I’ve enjoyed her recs tremendously.


  9. Bonnie Scott Jelinek
    Apr 11, 2012 @ 14:20:18

    Kyla, this is wonderful writing, and you so capture the “coming of age” and the power of new traditions. I had a lump in my throat just reading this.


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