I am not ashamed to admit that I got a little teary-eyed when dropping Julia off at preschool today. We were in the elevator when I realized that this was our last time making this small journey together. I felt compelled to mark the occasion by blurting out, “Julia, I’m so proud of you.” She flashed a demure—but wide—grin, then asked, “Why, Daddy?”
Why? How to put into words the joy we get from hearing you read aloud to your stuffed animals each night? Our delight in your enthusiasm for that which we take for granted? Our admiration of the empathy you display in all your relationships? Our appreciation of your willingness to share your gifts with others?
“Because you’re awesome.”
I offered to read her a book, a part of our drop-off ritual that she had out-grown this year. When we finished Charlie the Caterpillar, I had to remind her to give me my “jump hug.” She stepped back a few paces, then ran to my outstretched arms, which lifted her above my head. Unusually, she did not ask for another, so I pulled her in tight for one last squeeze before she turned her attention to her classmates.
Tonight, we attended her pre-K graduation, a bittersweet moment for us because we feel truly blessed that our children could spend their preschool years in the nurturing environment that College Hill provided. Julia—ignoring her brother’s warnings about the embarrassment she would suffer underneath a mortarboard cap—had a delightful time.
These milestones in our children’s lives always prompt me to look back on our time as a family, surely a universal experience for all parents. And while I can wax nostalgic with the best of them, I have never felt that the kids were “growing up too fast.” Nor have I wondered, “Where has the time gone?” If anything, Delton and Julia have given us the gift of a thousand moments where time seems to stand still—moments where life is not so much about what we do, but about how and why and why not.