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Now We Are Six

posted Thursday May 21st, 2009


I braced myself for it all day. Nah, all year.

The last day of kindergarten, Ms. X read the A.A. Milne poem appropriately titled “The End” to Annabelle — she reads it to all her kindergarteners on their sixth birthdays, and since Annabelle’s birthday is in July, the summer birthdays were celebrated on the last day.

I knew all year that Sophie’s actual birthday would fall on the last day of school, and I knew I would cry through that poem, which, if you don’t know it, goes like this:

When I was One,
I had just begun.
When I was Two,
I was nearly new.
When I was Three
I was hardly me.
When I was Four,
I was not much more.
When I was Five, I was just alive.
But now I am Six, I’m as clever as clever,
So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.

The class sang it all together, quickly, so it was like pulling off a Band-Aid, even if no one meant it that way. I really didn’t get too upset til we’d dispensed with Sophie’s birthday and Ms. X said her final goodbyes. Each child was called to the front of the room, wearing his or her backpack, and asked to turn around, so Ms. X could place a folder with Important Papers like report cards and a summer reading list in the backpack.

Then the child turned back around, and could choose a handshake, high five or hug from Ms. X.

Almost every kid chose a hug.

I sat and watched and cried and it occured to me that Ms. X was calling the kids in alphabetical order by first name, and Sophie’s comes so late in the alphabet, she’d be the last man standing, as it were. I prepared myself for a good sob. The gods got the last laugh, though. I forgot about a little girl named Zoe.

Still, there was plenty to tear up over.

I think the gods understood, after all, because tonight — after the last hugs and pictures and presents — it poured rain. And it never pours rain on the last day of school.

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6 Responses to “Now We Are Six”

  1. Whew. Ok, cool. I just figured out how to monitor your new site to my home page with RSS.

    Lots happening with all the party hat girls lately. Good stress.

    Love the photo of Ms. X in action.

    Wow. It’s been just about a year (or five something thousand eleventy minutes – I never really listened to that song ’til tonight – yeah, previously ranked it right down there with Cats – since I first heard you on This American Life, then found you by Googling your credits. (The circle came around when you Googled our kugel.)

    Anyhow, this GIAPH is a good thing, ready to thrive through more developmental stages.

  2. I don’t know if I’m worthy to comment. This web site is beautiful. The picture of you and the girls is beautiful. Life is beautiful.

  3. Happy to read that I’m not the only parent who cries at school birthday celebrations.

    My baby (who turned 6 this month) graduates from kindergarten next week…if you have any kleenex left I can pick it up on the way to her school…it’s thisclose to your office. (And to think the district was going to cancel my third born kid’s graduation because of some damn pig flu!)

  4. Hi Ms. X!!!
    So nice to finally meet you.
    That day sounds downright traumatic. And also wonderful.
    “The End” is almost as torturous (in a good way of course) as “Seasons of Love.”

    Congratulations to you, Sophie and of course, Ms. X. I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

    No day but today! : )

  5. You are a brilliant writer.

  6. (That’s from my mentor. She’s a little biased.)

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