"Mommy, we need to take these." We were already running late on the morning of kindergarten graduation, so I was hesitant to add anything to our take-along list. I didn't even want to look to see what it was.
It was a half empty bag of Twizzlers.
"No, we don't."
"Yes, we do. We are supposed to bring something to share at the reception in the classroom."
Oh, right. Excellent. He tells me this as we're walking out the door - actually, not yet to that point. Probably I've been informed several other ways as well, perhaps the kindergarten website or email update or Thursday folder. Bless their hearts, they try to keep me informed. The problem is definitely not with the messenger.
I think the start of next school year may be a good time for me to launch resolutions. Next year I will read the papers that come home. And I will not let the lunch balance dip into the negative. And we will be on time maybe 3 out of 5 days a week. (It's important to be realistic.)
I folded the bag and stuffed it into the extremity that is my purse. I recently asked my mom, "Do you like my new purse?"
"Actually, Trish, you and I define 'purse' differently. But I'd say I like your new carry-on bag."
We were finally very close to departure when I realized I hadn't packed a lunch for Tucker. My mind was so wrapped around this kindergarten commencement, I forgot that one child still has a fairly normal - albeit end of the year - day of school in front of him. A day in which he'll need to eat. Honestly, Tricia.
Tuck and I raced back to the pantry, grabbing handfuls of processed and individually wrapped options - granola bars, Gogurt, Caprisun, Doritos, and applesauce. And three giant marshmallows for dessert.
"Tyler! Tyler! Tylerrrrrr!" I'm holding the door open, ushering the ducklings through, realizing I am missing half the troup. "Tyler!"
He came down the stairs with his hair now nicely combed and gelled, but he was also wearing mismatched, pastel-striped winter gloves.
"Dude, you're not wearing those today." He heaved a sigh to show how unreasonable I am, and he stripped them off, turning them inside out, and chucked them on the floor. "Let's GO, Tyler."
Kindergarten graduation is an event all its own. The children are dressed in their Sunday best, they are wearing paper crowns, and their parents are taking pictures like paparazzi. It is rivaled only by the very first day of kindergarten.
Remember that silent auction I wrote about weeks ago? The one where my mom scored front row seats to kindergarten graduation? I was deeply thankful for her dogged persistence, as we slipped in at the last minute to find two seats saved in the front row. Reserved: Williford. As if I had earned them by being PTA president or Model Volunteer or Mother of the Year or some other nonsense.
Three classes of kindergarteners processed before us all, with Pomp and Circumstance playing on the boombox in the corner of the gymnasium. I must tell you, in that moment, my little man has never looked so grown up.
Each class sang their prepared songs, while a little boy muttered from the middle of the kindergarten choir, "Are we done yet? I hope the next song isn't The World is a Rainbow," during the introduction to The World is a Rainbow.
For each child's shining moment, the teacher called him to the center of the stage, shook each child's hand, and asked, "And what do you want to be when you grow up?"
There are several budding teachers, presidents, racecar drivers, a queen, a pop star, a farmer, a couple of scientists, a Marine, and a little boy who said, "I will be a pastor if the Holy Spirit picks me."
Tyler's practiced answer is "scientist," and he had privately added, "But I'll only work with gooey messy stuff and make things that explode and help people." In a dramatic surprise to us all, he announced that he would like to be "Hulk Smash."
So we have finished kindergarten. And I brought a half bag of Twizzlers to celebrate.