There is one day left in Logan's school year - Tuesday, June 13th. They'll clean up the classroom that day and have some final moments of play together.
Today, however, was their end of year party. We grown-up types sat on little tiny chairs with cameras (still and video) resting on our palms waiting to capture preschool magic. They sat on the floor "criss-cross applesauce" (the PC term for sitting with her legs crossed in front of you. We used to call it Indian style - but that has long since vanished from use for obvious reasons.)
They sang songs - one for each season/month/major lesson unit throughout the school year. They giggled. They smiled and wiggled. One (mine) admonished some of us (me) about not laughing loud enough at the right time. (Mommy! You're supposed to laugh!) Some (mine) blew kisses to some of us (me) at other points of the program.
They got little buttons with their photos on it. They got a tissue paper flower to deliver to mom with a kiss. They had cookies and brownies at their specially drawn place settings.
One year down. Another of preschool and at least another 13 years to follow.
We left his room with hugs given and gotten from his teachers -- smiles and high fives from his friends. He was proud. He was happy. He was feeling quite grown-up.
Preschool was never about the cirriculm for Logan. The majority of what they learned in school he had already learned at home. It wasn't about academics. It was about social development. It was about maturing in a comfortable safe setting. It was learning to listen to someone else in a position of authority that didn't share the same gene pool. It was about learning to be his own person and learning to make friends. It was learning to be a kid. He did it all well.
We've seen a lot of growth in him this past year. I'm sure most of it is a maturing he'd have under gone whether we had enrolled him or not. Yet I can't help but think some of it came because he was there. There are still things he'll readily do for himself at school but will balk at doing on his own at home. We don't give in often, but that doesn't keep him from trying.
I love seeing him emerge each school day with the pride radiating. He holds out his papers and chatters about whatever seemed most important at that very moment. He seems to pull back his shoulders a bit when he sees his 'art' hanging on the wall in a way he never did before with his home crafts or art-class projects. On a Sunday morning he drags us to his "school" room before heading to his Sunday School room so we can see the latest changes to his classroom. He waves to the class fish. He feels comfortable and 'at home.'
He sings us the songs they learn or repeats the stories they've read. He tells us all about what the special visitors had to say - the dentist, the fire fighters, the snowman. He talks about his friends.
And that's the part that makes me smile the most.
Logan's birthday is coming. He'll be four the end of this month. We had invited a few friends - my friends and women I knew through various playgroup or child-related activities. These were friends made *for* Logan. Friends by proxy.
He asked for invites to give his school friends, "the friends" as he calls them. At first I was reluctant. That meant time with "the mom's of the friends" and that wasn't typically high on my list of things to do. Not that they're bad - at least not all of them. Inviting these kids meant a large party - a big group between the ones we'd already included and the 13 kids in his class + siblings of all shapes and sizes. It meant managing disappointment if a large number couldn't make it.
He asked again. And again. And again. And then, while we were at a party for another child in the same class, I decided to give in. These were *his* friends. These were the kids he's developed a relationship with on his own - surely aided by school and teachers that call them all "the friends." Yet even with the nudge, it was clear, these kids enjoyed one another's company. They had fun together. They wanted to spend time together.
As we left the party that night, Logan stood in the open doorway of our van. I was buckling Meg in her car seat and he was playing the part of "VIP in a parade." The 'friends' were also leaving. They'd come through the facility door, look around, and then call out to my boy, "Logan! Bye Logan! See you on Tuesday!" And he, sometimes not even sure where the voice was coming from, would wave back and shout "Bye! See you Tuesday!"
My boy had developed a social life while I wasn't looking. He became an actual child with actual friends. He was happy. He was content. He was thriving.
And what mom can ask for more than that?