Last Day of Kindergarten: What a Great First Year of Real School!

BigBrother bounded into our room at 7 o’clock this morning even more chipper than usual. As I pulled the blanket over my head, I wondered what we owed the honor of extra-bouncy-morning-kisses to — and then I remembered. Oh yeah. It’s the last day of school.

I’ll have an OMG-SCHOOL-IS-OVER post in a week, once LittleBrother finishes up preschool for the year, but today let’s take a look at BigBrother this year.

— __ — __ —

Last Day

This oldest son of ours has grown by leaps and bounds since his first day of Kindergarten. Yes, physically in that shorts season needs to arrive and stay because some of his jeans look funny. Yes, physically in that he went through another size of shoes this year and, really, I can wear his socks. Yes, physically in that he started to school year with baby teeth, lost six of them (*gag, wretch*), and grew those lost teeth back into his mouth.

But in lots of other ways too.

We started out the year walking him into the school and all the way to his classroom. Then he asked us to stand in the lobby and watch as he walked to his classroom, waving as he disappeared inside. Then we just walked him to the front door. Yesterday, I stopped in front of the school in the drop off circle and he jumped out, told me to have a nice day, slammed the door and ran to catch up with his buddies. Today I shrugged at him as he asked why I was walking him not only into the school but all the way to his classroom. “I have to give your teacher her present,” I mumbled, blinking back tears that this was his last walk down the hall as a Kindergartener. He smiled and skipped — something he couldn’t do at the beginning of the year either.

My worries about him not responding well to the sit-down-and-shut-up aspect of school were short-lived. BigBrother loved his teacher — well, he loves all teachers. He didn’t want to disappoint her. He was on green absolutely every single day of school. He lost a total of two minutes of recess, both near the end of school, for talking when he shouldn’t in class. I figure if my son only lost two minutes of recess for talking, there’s hope for him yet. (Oh, you guys might find this hard to believe, but I was totally a talker in school. Totally.) On his final report card, his teacher wrote:


Thank you, BigBrother, for working SO hard this year! You have been the ultimate Kindergarten student. Enjoy your summer!!

This morning she called him “the shining star” of the class. It almost makes up for the times that he calls me by his teacher’s name at home. Almost.

Last Day of School, Holding Photo from First Day of School
Photo “pin-spired” by Call Me Crafty‘s post I pinned on my photography board. Also evident in this photo: We have moved!

He was reading — the basics — when school started. In the survey that I filled out, I told his teacher that I wanted him to finish “learning to read,” though I know that there’s really no “finish” to that, that reading and learning are on-going. I’m sure she thought I was nuts, just bragging on a kid who probably didn’t know how to read yet. The second week of school she pulled me aside and let me know that he had been tested and was already reading at a 1st grade level. “I just wanted you to know that I know,” she said, sharing an understanding glance. I felt good knowing that I hadn’t been imagining or talking-up his skills; he was really reading. His reading took off this year, and he’s firmly reading at a 2nd grade level, pushing that envelope every day as well. He reads all the time — occasionally getting in “trouble” for reading after last light’s out. He read the whole way to another city in the car yesterday. I love that his love of reading was nourished and encouraged this year.

He learned the ins and outs of playground fun — and warfare. There was that whole recent b-word exchange, a few hurt feelings on all sides, a couple conversations with the teacher when he came home in tears for things that were more than young friends learning how to be friends. I struggled most with this — with the letting him figure out how to handle the ups and downs of friendships on his own and trying to figure out when I should step in as a mom if things looked to be escalating past what was normal for young children. The word bully is thrown around so much, but I’ve seen inklings of it even in Kindergarten — and it broke my mommy heart. Not just for my all-too-trusting BigBrother who was surprised more than once by angry kids, but for the child acting out. Growing up feels harder nowadays, though I imagine it’s just because I understand what I didn’t back in the day. And, you know, it’s my kid, hear-Mama-Bear-roar kind of stuff.

I thanked BigBrother’s teacher this morning, stopping myself short from hugging her and weeping on her shoulder. I just feel so grateful that BigBrother had such a great year of Kindergarten, great first year of real school. I worried so much about how he would respond to school, to other kids, to a big building, to all of it. I don’t know why I worried.

Last Day of School, Holding Photo from First Day of School

He’s just so awesome.

And now he’s a first grader. Please excuse me while I weep in the corner.


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7 Replies to “Last Day of Kindergarten: What a Great First Year of Real School!”

  1. So many reactions to that post, but really, the one I most want to say is this: You are a good mama, you know that? It takes a good mama to help create an awesome kid like BB.

  2. He looks SO BIG. I can’t believe the difference from his first day of kindergarten photo to how he looks today. I’m stunned. His face looks so grown up.

    So glad he had a good year a school and I know he’s ready to be a first grader. You, however… Ha. :)

  3. I echo Katie’s thoughts. You’re a great momma. You balance work with the needs of nurturing BB’s growth outside of the school learning. How fast he’s growing!

  4. I’m so relieved you had a good year. I’m happy for your and BB. Seems like just yesterday we were discussing the first days of school.

  5. I can’t believe the difference from his first day of kindergarten photo to how he looks today. I’m stunned. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Big Boy! We’re doing the pinterest photo on Wednesday! I’m so excited to start this tradition. I think maybe at the start of the year I’ll do the one from the prior end.

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