Tonight I was given a sneak peek at the monumental milestone that lies ahead. The one that has been consuming my mind, keeping me up at night, making me hug my daughter a little longer, and kiss her a little more frequently. Tonight I went to my district's kindergarten information session.
I wasn't sure what to expect, and part of me expected to be one of a dozen parents attending the event. As I drove towards the school district office, I noticed a distant trail of headlights behind me, cars coming from every direction, traffic aides directing us to park amongst a nearby soccer field. Mini vans and SUVs and station wagons spewed out rushing parents, notebooks and pens in hand, frantically moving in herds towards the building doors. I had decided to attend the session alone, and felt lost among the sea of eager parents.
As I walked into the overcrowded gymnasium, I was immediately overwhelmed by a sea of what seemed liked a million confused faces. The outer areas of the gym were lined with information booths littered with colourful crafts, and signs written in giant kindergarten teacher print. I moved through the crowd like I had somewhere important to be, and found a seat by what looked like a cool group of mommies.
The Superintendent of our school district welcomed us to the session, and ended his intro with "we look forward to working with you over the next 13 years". I gasped. 13 years. Am I ready for a committed relationship like this? One that will greatly influence the person that my child will grow to be?
The speaker dove into explanations on the various programs we have to choose from - French Immersion, International Baccalaureate Programs - I thought my daughter was going to Kindergarten? Isn't that like, colouring and recess and snack times? He spoke about school choices, catchment areas, priority lists and learning techniques. He spoke of the importance of learning to pay attention and remembering things for a reason - basic skills that will contribute to the development of our children for years to come.
It was informative, and I'm glad that I attended, but seeing the images of the children on the projector screen, hearing the stories of a typical day in Kindergarten, and imagining my little baby girl walking towards an Elementary School door with an oversized backpack and a lunch bag in hand - I have to admit brought tears to my eyes. My baby's growing up, and I don't have a choice but to help her through the stages, to hope that I've made the right choices and taught her the right skills to move on to her next stage in life.
This is just the beginning, and I'm already freaking out.