Monday, March 19, 2007

Sentimentality & New Found Respect

Today is officially the Tarb's first day of summer vacation! On Friday, the kids performed in their grand, year ending program cheerfully named "Moving Up Day". The theme was "Preschool Musical" inspired by the movie "High School Musical". The kids performed songs from there and other Disney favorites. They were simply adorable - all of them, not just mine... ok, especially mine.

Now I have to admit, I do get all sentimental at events like this. No streaming cheeks, mind you - just misty eyes. It happened at the Grandparents' Day program and at the Christmas one as well. But Moving Up Day was worse because of the choice of songs like "Miracles Happen"* and "The Journey"* which really made me take stock of all the things the Tarb has accomplished in the past nine months. She went in there knowing only the letters in her initials give or take a couple more. Now she knows all of them and their sounds and can write her full name. Back then, she could only count to 10 by rote. Now she can meaningfully count objects up to 15. And her ability to follow Teacher M's choreography has improved by leaps and bounds. (Stage mother trying to control herself... but it's no use!) And seriously, she was the star of the show - stage blocking had her in the front, smack in the middle.

I don't think of myself as a super mom. With my dependence on the yaya (read: Tagalog for nanny), it would be awfully pretentious to do so. But I sure as hell looked like one at the program as I squatted in front of the stage simultaneously shooting video and taking digital stills from two cameras. (Yah, I know most cameras have both functions but I'm not happy with the low-res stills from my video cam and the low-res video from my digital). DH woke up late, arrived late and just happily enjoyed the show from the seat I saved him, so it was up to me to single-handedly record this moment in history.

The Tarb did as well as expected with her natural immunity from stage fright, give-it-all-she's-got moves and star-quality projection etc. etc. As I watched the kids and noticed how they were all just that much more grown up, I was painfully reminded of how time's swiftness is a betrayal of parental joy. We long to see our kids do this and that and when they do, we sigh about how quickly they're changing.

No one understands or welcomes this bittersweet condition like a preschool teacher. I watched them as they led their kids with gusto and caught them smiling with pride and eyes shiny with tears. After the show, they hugged the kids from their respective classes, telling them how much they'd miss them. The sincerity in their affection surprised me even though I had become aware, during the course of the year, just how fond the kids and teachers had grown of each other. My heart just swelled knowing that someone who wasn't a relative or friend could care for and be so devoted to my kid.

I have to confess that I often pigeon holed preschool teachers as young girls who lacked the drive to make it in the corporate arena or the direction to do something more "meaningful" in life. I couldn't have been more wrong. Friday was a humbling experience for me. Preschool teachers are my new heroes! I am a fan! I have the greatest repsect for what they do and am ever so grateful that they have been a part of our lives.

*I should post the lyrics of these songs because they are also very appropriate for IF-ers!!

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