pause for preschool graduation

 Tommy's last day of preschool was on Thursday. We had a school-wide picnic on Friday and now he and all his little friends will be off to Kindergarten in the Fall.  There was so much excitement buzzing around these sweet kids all running wild, playing and yelling like they did every day at school together.   The other moms and I stood together and chatted about summertime and new schools and the plans for our "graduates." It's a bit sad that everyone spreads out after preschool ends as we've enjoyed such a great group of kids in his class this year. It's been a really sweet dynamic, zero drama and I hope and pray his school experiences always look like that. But everyone is zoned for different schools here and there and of course we're leaving the town, the state altogether.  Another chapter closing. 

As a seasoned mover now I recognize the emotions I see swirling around in our home. They have the air of a new adventure.  There's bittersweet sadness as we say goodbye to this season, these friends, the familiar. There's some confusion from my boys still not fully grasping the concept of time and distance, of home being an impermanent place that we carry with us. They're also worried some toy in the back of the closet that they haven't touched in months is going to get caught up in my black trash bag pre-move frenzy.

Thankfully, dependably, though, there is also a budding excitement at something new, something unknown, potential and possibility. 

Tommy is especially eager as our move is once again intertwined with his birthday. He will be turning six in July and it will be the third birthday of his that will fall in a period of transition for our family. We're planning to have an early birthday party for him at our home in Tennessee before we move so he can celebrate with his friends here. I plan to make it a huge bash and then we'll do something special as a family on his actual birthday once we're settled in our new home.

Tommy is also very aware that six years old means Kindergarten.  So in his mind the move to Ohio is directly linked to this big birthday and starting Kindergarten.  It's a lot of major transitions for our guy but he is overwhelmingly excited. And I am playing hype woman about it all! 

You'll get to have two birthdays this year! 
We can have playdates with all your friends before we move! 
Are you going to jump off the dock at the lake this summer?  
I can't wait to meet new friends! Can you?!
The Cincinnati Zoo is so cool! 
You're going to learn to read!
We're going to do kindergarten together at home! 

Record scratch... wait what? Yes, for a lonnng list of reasons I plan to unpack later we have decided to homeschool the boys for at the least the next two years. I am so excited about our plans, and picking out books and curriculum, but also recognize that it's yet another new thing for my boys to adjust to.  I can get really caught up in the hype of getting us ready to do the next exciting thing! Full steam ahead! It's going to be great, I tell myself and the boys and then myself again. I start pulling back here so the pain of leaving is dulled. 

But then preschool graduation comes along.
This sweet silly miniaturized version of the big kid equivalent is such a tender reminder to stop, celebrate, and enjoy the right here, right now.  

So last week I watched Tommy sing He's Got the Whole World in His Hands complete with the precious motions. I watched him wait in wiggly giggling queues for his name to be called to walk across the little stage and receive his colorful "diploma." He and his friends gave sideways looks to their emotional and enthusiastic parents and wondered what the word graduation even meant, but they see we're excited so they're excited! We're proud of how they've grown so they're feeling proud too. And I don't want to miss this because I'm already looking down the road to Ohio, to new school arrangements, to our new home.

I'm thankful that in the midst of so much upheaval and change I have the ultimate privilege and responsibility of walking these little hearts I've been trusted with through new beginnings and endings.  I get to mark and record and force us to pause and take the pictures, take stock of the life around us right now, that will soon just be stories on a blog and memories in a photobook.


  1. Watching your family grow reminds me so much of what was happening in my life (in the last century!!). Your energy and enthusiasm amidst change is good, an inspiration to all of us as change is constant for everyone, no matter what stage or chapter of life.

  2. My goodness, time is going so fast. Tommy will be six and your posts from the west coast seem like yesterday. Home schooling is great. I know many families who home school and it makes so much sense. You (and the kids) will be great!! Do please keep us posted!! Hugs & prayers, Shannon!! You've got this.

  3. Yes what Terri've got this Momma : ) Such a resilient, open-hearted, smart, curious young man you are raising. He is our joy and delight and so very much like you in all the best ways xo

  4. I've enjoyed following your journey - we have a grandson who turned 6 at the end of March - and look forward to hearing about all your new adventures. You'll do great!

  5. Good luck with the move! We will be visiting Cincy this summer to go to King's Island. My kids are pumped!

  6. Your mom was right, you do have a beautiful blog and I see so much of her influence in your writing and thinking and especially your attitude of motherhood. Realizing you have no idea of who I am, I am taking the risk of recommending my granddaughter as a possible babysitter once you move to Cincy. She is a senior RN student at Xavier University there and a very experienced sitter. This was her summer job since middle school and still does it when home between semesters. I watched her with my two greats on summer vacation and was amazed at how gifted and loving she is with children. She is a Christian ray of sunshine. If you are interested in knowing more, you can contact me through your mother at some point. Congratulations to your Tommy. I remember when we first learned he was a "gleam in his mother's eye." Such a joy to watch your children grow even from a distance.

  7. Congratulations to your guy! Our granddaughter is six and it is a sweet age for learning. Speaking of special days Happy birthday to you! I missed your mom saying you were moving to Ohio. God bless your move and new home.

  8. Good for you deciding to homeschool at least to start. I'm sure your reasons are excellent. My daughters homeschool and it's been a blessing for their families.

    And a little bird told me it's your birthday! Have a wonderful day! Meanwhile I am going back to read Daisy's birth story ...


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