Friday, May 31, 2013

You used to be this

Spring 2008. Observe the ladybug stuck on her back, for she has not yet learned to roll.

Earlier this week I spent some time in our photo history searching for the perfect iteration of your infancy for the preschool graduation PowerPoint projection. Look at your face, questions stockpiling in those blue wells for the day you'd learn to talk. Sometimes I think of J. Alfred Prufrock when I think of you: Oh, do not ask, 'what is it?'

You always ask, of course.

And indeed there will be time
...for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate,
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.


You are inquisitive and conversational and curious. You love befriending strangers and learning their stories. I'm thinking this week about Commencement and how all the emphases are always placed on the wrong ones. High school and college will be important. Commence from them; I command it so. But this is your tabula rasa. By the world after high school you'll have already built your fears and insecurities. By the world after college you'll have already made life-delimiting choices. (Some call it "focus," or "choosing a major," and those things are important and good but they don't open the universe to you like being a rising kindergartner does.)

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons-

From the place of privilege of being your mother I juxtapose my plotted responsible adult existence with the wonder that is your uncharted potential. You are almost reading. You might grow up to be anything. Who knows? And you could argue any of a hundred starting points but I say it started with today.

Little kids, yes they're all snowflakes, but they're in so many ways interchangeable. Wipe this. Feed. Sleep. Baby has a fever. Baby has a rash. Hold this carry me! You graduate from preschool and leave your little kid years behind, shedding that identity as easily as another baby tooth. Today you step to the next stage, where you learn the subject of You. You'll find your strengths and weaknesses and preferences and distastes and learning styles and fashion styles and writing styles. (Okay--you already know your fashion styles.) Monkey bars or pick-up soccer? Math or spelling?

Who are you, emerging from that sweet preschooler cocoon? And where you're going next -- we expect that you'll be there for 13 years. Who will you be when you emerge again?

And should I then presume?
And how shall I begin?

Congratulations on this first Commencement, sweet Ladybug. I: will try to keep answering all your questions. You: go begin something marvelous. 


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