Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pomp and circumstance

Today was Anna's preschool graduation day - actually, it was the first of two, since she's in both the Monday/Wednesday/Friday class and the Tuesday/Thursday class. I switched into the evening shift today at work so that I could go - it's another in my long line of one shot things having only one child so I wouldn't have missed it for the world. A preschool graduation may seem like a trumped up event, but seriously, it isn't. Not after having been through one.

Honestly, we couldn't possibly have been luckier in a preschool experience for Anna. The teachers have been great and over time, I've seen her develop both intellectually and socially, the latter being the biggest part of why we sent her to preschool in the first place. I'm not all that worried about her academically - she's always been a smart cookie, but we really wanted her to start to learn how to interact with other kids before she gets thrown into the culture shock of preschool.

We showed up for the graduation at about 10:30 - running a bit late as Heidi's yoga class ran a bit long. They were singing songs and performing for the parents but it wasn't long before the graduation ceremony was set to begin. They had hats and tassels and diplomas and the whole nine yards. Anna comes out from the back after getting ready and I couldn't get her to look at me so that I could take her picture - this is odd as she's not usually camera shy. It didn't take us long to figure out that something was wrong - especially when the tears started to flow like a river. It was so bad that she couldn't even stand in line with the rest of the preschoolers. I finally talked her into accepting her diploma if I went up and held her hand, which she did, even though she cried the entire time.

Had life given me any child other than Anna, I might have been frustrated and even embarrassed that my child who will be going to kindergarten in the fall was reduced to a pile of tears and emotion by something that she couldn't even name (the only thing I've been able to get out of her was "I was afraid to go up in front of hundreds of people" which was poppycock because there were probably 20 people there!) But instead, I took a page from my father's playbook, since he had a kid like me. When I was a kid, I used to stand up in the front of the church and while the rest of the kids were singing, I was up there crying. He just smiled and said "That's my kid all over."

And that is my kid all over. She is her dad's daughter in many ways and I think the biggest gift I will be able to give her as she gets older is the gift of "it's okay to feel sad and cry, even Dads cry sometimes." As much as I bemoan her growing older - as she's growing up so much faster than I ever though she would - I see nothing but good times ahead. I'm no fool - I know that there will come a time that I stop being coolest dad ever and become dorkiest dad ever, but hey, I'm already a cool mix of that already.

But this post is not about me, it's about my daughter of whom I could not possibly be prouder. Anna, your Dad loves you very much and will always be there for you, even when you don't want him to be.

(And yes, the outfit was picked by Anna herself - you do not get in the way of the Indigo child's fashion choices.)


Paul said...

aw poor anna. she is very lucky to have a dad like you. when she is older, let her know that at my graduation (high school - which in england was more like an awards ceremony) i got an award for something of the other and thought it would be cool to go up on stage with my hands in my pockets. I got to the top step and tripped and couldn't get my hands free in time, falling flat on my nose which was very painful and tres embarrasing. Thank god school was over :) And yes, I shed a tear or two as i collected my plaque and gift voucher dripping blood over myself and a "couldn't move further away from me if he tried" homophobic headmaster (tales of manning and i smooching in the music closet spread fast in those days :P_)

Heidi Cullinan said...

Paul, you're the dearest thing. Please never change. Or, if you must, just keep on improving, I suppose.

Yuяi said...

Dan, don't be surprised if you remain the coolest dad in the universe to Anna! You guys have a special bond and even in the rollercoaster world of teenage-dom (i love it when i make up cool words!), I'll wager she'll always be a daddy's girl. :)

xolondon said...

This is the type of story my parents have about me and try to tell me at a dinner party while I am going "No no No I can't hear you No no!" :)

No one can say she doesn't have depth or a sense of gravitas, right?

Congrats on your milestone!