thirteen more

Five years ago I took part in a graduation ceremony. I wasn’t a graduate, but the senior class adviser. Part of my job was to stand next to the assistant principal as he called the graduates by name before they walked across the stage to their future.

I was hugely pregnant.

From the belly down, it looked like I had tree trunks attached to bricks. My feet were exploding out of the flip flops that I had crammed them into because not wearing any footwear was not acceptable.

My normally billowy Masters robe was taut across my huge belly.  Students joked that they should rub it for good luck before going across the stage. I put a stop to that real quick.

I had a special set of keys in my pocket to get into the locker room bathrooms in case the hour or so ceremony was too long to go without peeing.

My principal at the time was sure I was going to go into labor in the gym in front of all the students and parents. I assured him I still had a month and then directed him to “chill out already.”

I was hot and uncomfortable, but I remember that when the band played Pomp and Circumstance, Eddie kicked when he felt the bass drum. As I watched my students cross the stage and shake the hands, my eyes welled up as I pushed Eddie’s butt out of my side. Some day that would be my boy.

My boy.


Five years flew by so quickly.

All of a sudden I found myself sitting at a different kind of graduation.

This time I was in the audience and not on stage with the graduates.

Instead of mortar boards and gowns there were brightly colored polo shirts and pretty dresses.

preschool graduation

Instead of a gym, we were in a Music and Motion room.

Instead of a band playing “The Star Spangled Banner” there were small voices leading us in the “Pledge of Allegiance”.

preschool graduation

Instead of commencement addresses there were songs like “Buenas Tardes” and “Grandma’s Glasses” and “Tap Tap”.

Instead of cautionary words about the future from a superintendent, there were loving words of reflection from a teacher.

preschool graduation

Instead of a single name called, there was a name with a list of favorite things from the school year.

Instead of a diploma holder, there were “preschool certificates”.

preschool graduation

The common thread between this preschool graduation and the one five years ago is the emotional surge that welled up in my eyes and threatened to fall in front of everyone.

I kept telling myself, “it’s only preschool. It’s neat, but it’s not a huge deal.”

My heart disagrees.

Completing a stage in the academic process is a big deal.

Plus it was a big deal to Eddie.

He told me the night before that he was a little scared because so many people would be watching. Of course once he was up there he was probably the least affected by the eyes on him.

But he also told me he was sad to leave because he loves his teachers and he will miss them. His two best friends–whom he has been with for the past three years in daycare and now in preschool–will be going to different schools for Kindergarten, and Eddie will be done with daycare completely.

This graduation is the end of a big chapter of Eddie’s life.

Saying goodbye to preschool and his teachers is just the first step. Later this summer he will say goodbye to his daycare mom and his daycare friends, and in the fall, he will start a brand new chapter: elementary school.

We have thirteen more ends of school years ahead of us, but we are going to take the time we need to say goodbye to this very first one.

Then we will celebrate the start of Kindergarten, but until then? Summer Vacation!!


About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. It IS a big deal. Your little boy is moving on up! Look at how handsome he is.
    Happy Summer!

  2. Preschool graduation is huge. You are right to savor it and give yourself time to enjoy all that comes after!

  3. We are still a couple of weeks away from preschool graduation here, but I know that I will be sentimental when it comes. It does feel big.

  4. Preschool graduation is such a big deal and so sweet. Take the time to feel it all.

  5. Yay! It is such a big deal, and he looks so happy up there! Essie keeps asking me when she gets to go to kindergarten. It could be a long summer. 🙂

  6. I understand better why there are pre-k graduations. It really helps the kids (oh yeah. and the parents) to be ready for the next step.

    Love that beaming photo of Eddie.

  7. B’s PreK graduation is coming up soon, and I know I’ll be a mess! What a sweet time of the year for our boys!

  8. Such a CUTE milestone! He’s gonna be great in Kindergarten in a few months. Such a great year, they are all so cute in class together. 🙂

  9. You KNOW I understand every word of this.
    Every. Word.

    In two more years, my son will graduate from high school.
    In three, my daughter will, too.

    Sometimes, I can’t believe that’s even possible.
    And yet.

  10. My kids did not have preschool – but they do a kindergarten graduation ceremony in my kids’ school.
    It’s just a small in-class party – not too big or fancy.
    but oh, the ugly cry was present. but so was pride; both for my kids because it was the first time they had felt Real Achievement in their lives. And me because I was so proud at how they recognized, celebrated, and embraced it.

  11. ((((()))))

  12. It is a big deal. Bigger than I thought it would be when my son was graduating from Kindergarten. I thought it was so silly, but it turned out to be very emotional for me. Thanks for sharing these two amazing events in your life.