By Contributing Mama Daphne Biener
Acadia graduated from preschool this week, amid no tears and so little fanfare the earth barely shook. This is my baby we’re talking about. I suppose I was lucky to be there at all, considering that in the week leading up to the ceremony my daughter listened politely to plans of song-singing and hand-shaking and decisively declined to take part in any such nonsense.
I’m learning to pick my battles, and I just couldn’t justify forcing her to participate. I graciously told the teacher to count us out.
Teacher: Oh no, that’s too bad. Doesn’t Acadia need closure?
Yeah. Closure. My carefree spirit cares not one iota about closure. Slamming the door on the way outta here is about all the closure she requires. So what that we’ve put two kids and five years into this school that somehow took my pipsqueaks and Presto! Chango! magically transformed them into beings with ideas of their own and places to go and no time to dally on things as trivial as Mom and her silly need for closure.
Not that anyone’s asking, but I think I’m due just a dash of pomp and/or circumstance. There was no ‘bye-bye boobie’ bash when my last baby weaned. I got no hallmark for morphing a bag of diapers and dollies into one that now holds peanut butter and ponytail holders. All I’m saying is that it might be nice to have a little something to mark this milestone before it wriggles from my grasp like a freshly washed newborn.
Two years flown by since my little big shot marched into school her first day with barely a backward glance. My assistance was no longer required. That day I drove off to sob quietly into the first latte I had sipped solo in ages.
But then, come November of her second year at preschool, Acadia announced she didn’t care to stay at school for lunch anymore. Red flags waved. Why? Wasn’t she happy? Did something happen? Some brat make fun of her affinity for breadless sandwiches? Honey, really, tell mommy what’s going on.
“I just want to eat lunch with you Mom, ok?”
Stupid me, I actually wrestled with this. After all, the pleasure of the school NOT watching my child at lunch came with a $50 why-can’t-you-make-up-your-mind fee. I wondered if caving in to her would create a quitting addict. Or a lifelong aversion to lunchbox-based cuisine.
Unlikely, I decided, and cheerfully paid the penalty and smothered my not-a-baby-anymore with hugs and kisses. She still wanted to be with me, oh wonder of wonders. Ultimately she even came around and sang at her graduation ceremony. It was bitter-sweet; there she stood, all grown up and happy about it. So what was my problem? Me, the one who shed tears for a baby alligator emerging victoriously from an egg on the nature channel. Me, the one who marks each right of passage with a 12-pack box of tissues. Why wasn’t I a teary mess? Am I growing cavalier in my old age?
With questions unanswered we sailed into our first week of summer. Day one, my baby decided she was ready to part with her long hair.
I was not quite as ready, but I promised, so I took her to get it cut.
The woman held up four or so inches of baby blond for Acadia’s approval before executing a sleek bob to her proud shoulders.
Gone were the ratty wisps I fight the brush through every morning. Gone was the last uneven shag from that chewing gum I hacked out. Gone was the very last bit of baby in my baby.
I smiled at her, and started to cry.