I made it through the night without becoming a blubbering mess, but now as I write about the night and edit and share pictures, I somehow doubt that I will be able to hang on to my dignity, or my dry eyes. Lucky for me I can type alone at the computer.
I am sure it was just like any other preschool graduation--except, it was my child's.
I can't tell you how thankful I was that Grace pulled in the parking lot the moment we were climbing out of the car. My nerves were gone, and I was obsessing over seats. Well, I was now. I had obsessed over every other thing all week long. This seemed to be my final frazzle--that we would get good seats and be able to see everything clearly.
Knowing full well that Grace was antsy too, I wasn't exactly counting on her to be some sort of emotional pillar, I just figured there was mommy-strength in numbers. And, if you have a friend who feels your pain, and one you can laugh and chat with you won't have time to get silent and inside your head for too long. You know, and become the crazy lady sobbing hysterically over the voices of small children singing ;)
We took some pictures of our two best buddies before we went inside. They looked so handsome in their ties. I found that fabric online and HAD to have it! He just had to have a graduation tie. I ordered it late last month, and actually finished the tie with more than a week to spare (might be a new record for me, I am bad about stitching through the late night to get something done for the next day). You can click on the pictures to zoom in, but it has colorful mortar boards on it. And, it is is a super big boy tie--no elastic, and I tied it myself.
I (eventually) left him in the room where I was instructed to drop him off after taking a ton more pictures (you never can have too many of those you know!). I found Garren and decided that the seats he choose would have to be good enough. (Clearly he did not get my subliminal message to get front or second row and elbow anyone in his way ;) He "borrowed" a camcorder from work, so I had one relief of not having to worry about filming and my camera dying or messing up. Of course, I ended up videoing three special sections anyway.
The kids marched in with their classes and lined up on the risers to dazzle us with their music ability.
All the kids did a few songs, and then the younger ones sat down and let the 4 year olds sing two special songs.
The one I knew was coming. He had been practicing in the car, and in his room for weeks. I also knew it from the ceremony last year. I knew when I heard it 12 months ago that it was going to get me when it was his turn.
Of course with words like "We're Moving Up To Kindergarten" tears are inevitable.
The graduates finished their song and went back into the changing room while the three year olds did their songs.
Those teachers had to have worked fast, because there was no lag time before Pomp and Circumstance played. This is where I started pinching my arms and legs to keep it dry. Why? Well, I am the kind of crier, that once I get started--I can't stop. And, really, I wanted to see clearly all that was happening.
Thomas' class went first with the walk across stage and diploma. There is something about hearing his full name that really got me. We were asked how we would like their names to be called and what to put on their diploma. This is a special occasion and it reeks of formality, so I didn't even have to think about what I wanted. I wanted the whole "Jack Thomas Shipley."
I videoed all of the kids getting their names called, just in case someone didn't have a good angle, or a video function on their camera. So, if you just want to see and hear Thomas, move the counter to :58.
Of course Thomas is blurry, so you will have to hang on for a better video version from one of the other cameras we were using. I will try to upload this weekend.
The staff invited one parent to come back and pick up their child in the room. I was thrilled to see that they still had their robes and caps on. I am however sorry to say that I was so overcome that I didn't snap pictures! In fact, I am so thankful that I thought about wanting a mommy picture, and Grace walked in about that time. I am so grateful for this picture! The robes the kids were using are vintage, and have been at the school for years, so they don't get to keep them, so that was my one opportunity for "night of" pictures. However, I was asked earlier this week to come in an take pictures of the kids in their caps and gowns for all of the mamas--so I have good ones to share from that sunny day outside.
It was a bittersweet night, and I am so proud of making it through without completely losing it. I have red marks all up and down my arms, but I made it. There were times these past few weeks I was sure I wouldn't make it. God saw me through. Now, I will have to count on Him (as I should) to help me though the summer and Kindergarten.
We went to dinner after the ceremony as I didn't feed anyone anything substantial (and was glad to hear I wasn't the only one who couldn't squeeze in dinner with getting everyone ready and to the school on time!). Thomas choose Stevie B's, his favorite place, to round out a celebratory evening.