Friday, May 29, 2015

Sing it Loud

I was at my youngest's Kindergarten graduation/program today(Am I the only Mama that just weeps right through every milestone?). I couldn't help but notice the marked difference between the preschool program of last year and the Kindergarten one this year.

You know the beauty of preschool programs? The kids really don't give a rip about what everyone else around them is doing. They file haphazardly onto the bleachers and scream out exuberant greeting to their family.  They are (mostly) happy to be up with their friends, with their family watching from the audience and will sing loosely along with the lyrics that have been diligently taught by their teachers. They sing loudly and exuberantly, throwing their entire little bodies into the dance moves. There is often a child or two that chooses not to sing and, instead, dance wildly on the outskirts of the stage or just stand frozen, grinning out at their family. It really is a beautiful thing, when everyone chooses to beat to the tune of their own drum.

Fast forward just one year and the kids have become much more aware of social expectations. The children file onto the bleachers and wave shyly at their parents in the audience. They stand stick straight in wait for the first notes of the first song and when it begins, they begin to sing in a whisper. There is much looking at each other to ensure that everyone else is singing too and you can see them mentally matching their volume to their peers. They have become grade schoolers this year. It is no longer appropriate to spin in circles at the periphery of the group instead of singing or belting out the words three beats ahead of everyone else. There is an awareness of themselves as a part of a community that wasn't there before.

The parents watch proudly. They are growing up so quickly. Our babies are no longer our babies.

This growing up thing. It's bittersweet.

I am terribly proud of the growth that my daughter has undertaken this year. It makes my heart sing.

And, yet....I will always miss the little girl that proudly belted out songs everywhere we went- in the aisle of the grocery store, in a quiet moment at church, at the playground while spinning until her skirt stuck straight out. I will miss the little girl who dressed herself in whatever caught her fancy for the day- pajamas, princess costumes out of the dress up box, random too-large clothing pilfered out of her big sister's drawers. There is so much that I will miss of my quirky preschool daughter, even as I delight in her newfound skills and personality.

My biggest hope for my daughter, for all of my children, is that she will hang onto some of that quirkiness for life. That she will not spend her life quieting her own song in deference to those around her. Because, fitting in and being socially acceptable is all well and a point. But, being yourself is the very best gift that you can give yourself and the world.

My sweet girl. Make your life sing in the way that only you can. Sing it loud and sing it proud, Baby. Mama's gonna take your lead and try to do the same.

{2 years old and singing proudly into her plastic spoon. Sing it, my Love}

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