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The End of Preschool Years: When Your Baby Graduates VPK

The baby in our family is graduating VPK this month. He’s flourished this year and is obviously ready for Kindergarten. But, I AM NOT ready. You see, he’s the baaaaby (as I mentioned before.) My eyes are having a hard time seeing him as anything but that, and I’m desperately trying to hang onto those baby years and keep him little. As moms, we’ve all been guilty of this, but it’s especially bittersweet when your youngest grows up.

VPK

I swear this is what he still looks like!

Why is it different when your youngest graduates VPK?

When my older son graduated Pre-K, there were a few proud tears, but mostly I was so excited for him to reach a new milestone. I couldn’t wait for him to head off to Kindergarten where he would make new friends and learn to read. I was confident that he would do well and I knew he was ready to take on the world. I didn’t spend too much time mourning his preschool years because I was so psyched to see how he would rock big kid school. Plus, I still had plenty of time left with his little brother to soak up some more preschool cuteness. 

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This photo sums up my personal feelings for each of my kid’s Pre-K graduations!

Fast forward two years later, and I’m clinging to my youngest and begging him to stay forever. His school is sending home photos of him dressed in a cap and gown and making it seem like I should be happy about preschool ending. It’s as if they don’t understand that he’s STILL A BABY! People around me are posting pictures of their little ones registering for Kindergarten, and I’m not having any of it. 

It’s hard to say goodbye to preschool.

So, why am I like this?! Surely there are lots of moms who are thrilled that their last little one is heading off to Kindergarten. Whether it’s because the cost of daycare is ending or it simplifies life to have all their kids at one school, there must be reasons to enjoy this milestone. I can appreciate the accomplishment that my little guy has reached, but I just wish these years had lasted a little longer. Maybe a few more “Muffins with Mom” events? A couple more “Dress like a Super Hero” days? And, like a million more “Polar Express P.J.” parties? I’m not asking for too much. 

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Photo Credit: Kurt English Photography, www.kurtenglish.com

Logically, I know this is the way of life. We do our best to cherish our moments with all our kids (but maybe savor them a tiny bit more with our babies). Each year that passes with our children signifies the ending of one chapter and the beginning of another. However, there’s something so special about those preschool years. The innocence, the sweetness, and the no-pressure environment make it so hard to say good-bye. I will miss the warm fuzzy love that comes so naturally from Pre-K teachers. Their unbelievable patience and ability to reassure you that your baby is a shining star do wonders for a mama’s heart. While I know elementary school is going to be a new challenging adventure for my little guy, I can’t help but want to squeeze out just a few more precious preschool moments. 

But, this month I’ll tearfully watch my baby graduate VPK. He and his adorable classmates will sing the Florida ABC’s song just like countless other little graduates have done in years past. I’ll smile for pictures and tell him what a big boy he is. He’ll beam as he tells everyone he’s going to Kindergarten (sigh!) We’ll start this new chapter of life and I will try my darnedest to make these next years go as slow as possible. For as we all know, babies don’t keep. Goodbye VPK, hello Kindergarten!

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