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Friday, June 12, 2009

Rituals

Today I got to participate in two very special rituals. My sister graduated from Carleton University with her Masters of Arts and the girl had her third "school birthday". While I am very proud of my sister, my heart was just bursting with pride as I watched the girl sit among her friends during circle time wearing her yellow birthday crown. She looked so old, so tall, so autonomous from me. I wondered where my baby had gone.

The plan had been for all of us (the husband, the boy and I) to attend the little birthday celebration at school. The husband took the day off from work because he too was excited about the birthday milestone. Her first school birthday! But this was the one morning when the boy slept in, thus pushing back his morning and afternoon naps. Instead, the husband stayed home while the boy napped and I went off to school the support the girl. Don't feel sorry for the husband though. I took some photos and video and he used the opportunity to rest up for the afternoon alone with the kids while I went to my sister's convocation.

I loved the chance to watch the girl at school and share this ritual with her. I hadn't been inside her classroom since those first few weeks in January when she started at the pre-school. It was wonderful to see how comfortable she was in her classroom, how much she enjoys the other kids and teachers. All the kids sat around her in a circle while they sang happy birthday to her and a teacher took pictures of her in her crown, her cupcake with a number 3 candle (unlit of course) in front of her. The girl was glowing in the attention.

Since it was her day, the girl was allowed to wash her hands for snack first and pick her seat at one of the small tables scattered about the room. A little friend of hers, a boy close in age she often talks about, came and grabbed the chair beside her. He picked it up and moved it so it was only inches away from her. They sat happily and chatted while waiting and then eating their cupcakes.

I learnt something new about the girl watching her eat her snack. She may love cupcakes but she loves juice even more. She abandoned the half eaten cupcake and ignored the banana once her glass of apple juice was placed in front of her. She drank the entire glass of juice in a few gulps. Only after that did she return to the cupcake, happily licking any stray icing off her fingers.

After school ended she and I continued the celebration by stopping at the pizza place we always pass on the way home. It is the local hang out for the nearby high school, but today it was empty when we went in. With three slices of veggie pizza in hand we headed to a park to eat our goodies on the grass. The husband and boy joined us for our little picnic. It was one of those moments that make everything else, yes, even the not sleeping, worth it.

Before long we headed home and I got ready for the graduation ceremony. It was strange to be leaving the kids and it was strange to be gone for as long as I was, but I did enjoy putting on a skirt, some pearls and shoes with a touch of a heel. Walking to the bus I had a weird deja-vu of life before the girl was born. When I used to go out just me, no baby strapped to me, no stroller to push.

To be honest I found the convocation itself long and a bit dull. I am not used to sitting still for over two hours. My hands were hurting from clapping for everyone who walked across the stage. Even though I didn't know them I felt compelled to clap for them. They had all accomplished something to be proud of and I wanted to clap for them in case there wasn't anyone there rooting just for them.

I was very proud of my sister when she walked across the stage. She has worked hard for her degree and I know she will work just as hard for her next. Her next convocation will be pretty exciting and I hope we will all be able to make it to Montreal to see it. And I hope she won't insist that I her Doctor all the time. She may be on her way to becoming a Dr. but she is still my little sister.

And the girl is still my baby.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful post. Life's memories and moments are built on days like that. Thanks for sharing.

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