What's Important

This last Monday, my youngest daughter, who is three made her way up to the stage with the other “Lambs” to receive her Dove pin, signifying her advancing to kindergarten.  Mildly sheepish, she stood there with her friends as they all tried to take in the applause, flash from cameras, music and then ushering off of the teachers like mama cats herding their young to meet once again their adoring parents, grandparents and friends.

It is now Thursday at 1:30 a.m. and the dryer is finished.  In the load of laundry is my other daughter's (who is the oldest and is six) blue checkered uniform skirt, maroon knee-high socks, white short-sleeve standard issue shirt, with school emblem and maroon sweater now washed and dried for “school dress day” later this morning for her participation in her advancing to the first grade celebration.  I’m up at this early hour because my oldest said yesterday after dinner, “Papa, I can’t wear my jumper anymore.  I’m a big girl now and I want to use my skirt (I’m not even sure that’s the special name for it, but it looks like a skirt to me)…My teacher said, we need to be extra clean tomorrow because we’re going to the first grade.”  Taking her little face in both hands, I told her how much I am proud of her, now that she is such a big girl and so smart she is ready for the first grade (Of course I held back the tears of pride and joy of her accomplishment).

But, am I ready for the first grade?  Am I ready to do kindergarten with my youngest? This last year with all of the personal stresses in the backdrop,there was “homework”, school activities, countless and beautiful handmade crafts, paintings, stories of friends on the playground, snacks, lunches to pack, preferences to learn, countless alphabet songs, “eye-spy” drives to school, challenges to read numbers on signs in the produce section at the market and then, the real tearjerker, my oldest getting too big to sit in the little car at the market with her little sister (Damn, I so loved the two of them sitting side by side pretending to race down the aisle, making driving and screeching sounds around corners as fast as I could push the cart without drawing too much attention)!

Each of my daughters exclaims in her own way that simple statement of an emerging identity and I am concurrently proud as can be and saddened that the stress of it all doesn’t last just a little longer.  I want small shoes to fit a little longer.  I want clothes to stay big so I have to cuff pants and roll up sleeves.  I want their struggle to find letters, sounding out words and putting numbers together to last just a little longer.  I find myself trying to embed every memory in my brain so these wonderful moments don’t slip away unnoticed  or unappreciated.
Upon reflection, I guess I’m ready to do kindergarten with my youngest and the first grade with my oldest (after a nice summer of rest).  All in all, I am reminded to keep doing what I am doing because what is important is creating what is necessary for my daughters to say with definite readiness, “I’m a big girl now.”

Snack Attack

New recipe for evening snack a hit for daughters:

1/4 cup each of Greek non-fat yogurt from Sprouts;
1/2 an apricot divided and diced (?) for two;
3 gorgeous, large, purple grapes (seeds removed) and diced for each;
Apply a nice sprinkling of Mad Hava Agave Nectar (a friend told me about to replace sugar and artificial sweetener);
Top with ground cinnamon.

It was such a hit, the girls asked for seconds!! Enjoy!