Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sweet and Sour

It's about seven in the evening and I'm sitting in a crowded gymnasium with a loud, centuries old, air conditioner buzzing overhead, making it hard to hear the music playing from the cheap boom-box perched on the paper covered stage.

One look out into the hall lets me know that the festivities are about to begin, and all of a sudden the noise from the air conditioner seems to fade away, as I become more and more engrossed in the moment. The music coming from the CD player becomes more clear as I begin to hum along in my head the notes to "Pomp and Circumstance", also known as "The Graduation March".

Tears are threatening to pour down my face at any moment, while I watch a slide show provided for us, full of captured moments throughout the year, then set to the track of "Let Them Be Little" By: Billy Dean. Out of the corner of my eye I see my beautiful little boy, standing off in the wings, awaiting his much anticipated, heavily practiced, march onto the stage to accept his long awaited diploma. A diploma certifying that my boy, my baby, is ready to enter into the world of education, just like his brother before him.

All too soon, the march onto the stage is over, and sitting in front of me is my dear boy and his classmates, now known as friends.

Mrs. Nicki calls them up one by one, offering a short speech about each of them individually. When she begins talking about a child who, in her words, "Is an extremely pleasant child. Always happy and agreeable. A friend to everyone. And one of the most sensitive and caring people I've ever come in to contact with." I know she is talking about my dear Bumpo. As he proudly walks up to her to accept his diploma, she fights hard to hold off the tears, as I swipe at my cheek to wipe away my own. My mommy pride is bursting at the seams as I look into my little boy's eyes and realize that this is a day I will never forget.

Then I see something in him. . . . All of a sudden, I'm thirteen years in the future, and instead of a preschool graduation, I'm sitting at his high school graduation. The little boy in front of me is gone, replaced by a young man. I also see myself, and in my hand I'm holding a photo. A photo from this day. A photo of my boy, the little boy he is at this very moment, the little boy I will probably always see, despite his age. He's my baby. He's probably the last one I will ever get to have. And I have vowed to treasure every single moment of it.

Cheers and flashes of blue, from the children standing in front of me, jerk me out of my day dream, as I see tiny little hats litter the sky like confetti, marking the end of the the celebration.

In the flash of an instant, we are all gathered outside, in the nice balmy evening air, enjoying our soy banana splits, while reminiscing about the last nine months with the other parents. Our children, still high on the the events of the evening, and on a rush of sugar, play gleefully on the playground. Completely unaware that this will be one of the last times they get to play with the friends they've come to know. In less than a week, the school year will be over, and they will all go their separate ways. With this year of preschool, a year that means so much to them now, becoming a distant memory, as the years go on. The names of the friends they've made, will begin to fade away, replaced by new friends. The field trips that made this year so much fun, will seem like child's play as they go on to experience other events.

But one thing will remain. One constant reminder of this year. Her name is Mrs. Nicki. And no matter how many experiences my dear Bumpo has, he'll always remember her. She is one of the good ones. She has left a mark on my boys life, and a mark on mine as well. I've never seen any teacher like her before, and I doubt I will again.