I’m sitting in an empty classroom across from my daughter’s teacher. I’m here for Parent Teacher Conferences, but I’m having a hard time taking it seriously. I already know my daughter gets good grades. I already know she is not a troublemaker. I already know she manages well socially. So why am I here? Nevertheless, we begin a methodical dissection of topics the teacher feels responsible to address. It’s all as expected, and I pay careful attention to the teacher’s comments because I may as well bask in all the compliments while I’m here. She even wrote some of them on a piece of paper and slid it across to me. The first word that popped out to me was in all caps. “EXCELLENT!” it said. I smiled inwardly to mask my pride. There were other comments written in the margins and I zeroed in on one in particular. I slowly processed the words, “Needs some practice with using small dots of glue.”
I tried not to laugh.
My daughter is 4. This is preschool. And before she “graduates” we have to talk about how she holds her scissors, recognizes her own name and tries to color within the lines. In spite of the glue debacle, Samantha was deemed worthy to move on. Certificates were signed, grad hats were made from styrofoam bowls, a ceremony was held, and my little toe-headed girl in a blue, flowered dress crossed the preschool finish line with her “diploma” in hand.
Today my daughter is graduating from Brigham Young University. We didn’t know it at the time, but Samantha’s preschool graduation would end up holding more pomp and circumstance than this quarantined, canceled one. But there’s something I would like to tell that 4-year-old girl. First, school is about to get really hard for you. And you know what? You work your butt off, fight through it and learn valuable skills that help you all the way through college. Second, you are about to make some friends that will exploit you and manipulate you to get what they want. And you know what? You learn who to trust and how to respect yourself and you end up with a life full of beautiful friendships. Third, you’re going to have your heart broken, a few dreams crushed, and your faith tested. And you know what? You’re going to marry the perfect guy for you, create new dreams, and advocate for God to hundreds of people. Fourth, you’re going to be the most phenomenal older sister to the best younger brother. He will be your first best friend. Fifth, your parents are going to love you the whole time. And finally, I want the world to know how very proficient you will one day become with a bottle of glue.
Happy College Graduation, baby girl.