What the Mother of 12 Told Me at the Party
This morning, at Tsofia’s end of year kindergarten party, I asked the older mother sitting next to me, “How many times have you attended end-of-kindergarten parties for one of your children?”
“This is my 12th end-of-kindergarten party. And my last…” she answered with a gentle smile.
A few minutes later, during a break between songs, I couldn’t resist asking a follow-up question,”So how does that feel? To have your youngest child graduate kindergarten?”
“Disappointing…that it’s over,” she said, looking down.
“Now you will be able to attend the gan parties of your grandchildren,” I suggested, in an attempt to cheer her up.
“A grandchild is nice, but it’s not the same. I wasn’t pregnant with him, I didn’t give birth to him, I didn’t nurse him… I will never do that again. And I also feel joy to see my youngest child growing up, but it’s sad to think of all the things that never will be again.”
And on a certain level I can relate to that disappointment… Tsofia has two younger brothers and no younger sisters. So while this morning wasn’t my last kindergarten party, this is the fifth and final (it seems) time I will kvell and cry tears of joy at a daughter’s end-of-year gan party.
But in recent months, as I watch my youngest (and last child, it seems) growing older, I have been discovering an upside to the disappointment that that older mother described.
When I walk hand in hand with my 18-month-old to his babysitter, or watch my 3-year-old splashing in the blow-up backyard pool, or see my 5-year-old, Tsofia, scribbling a new picture with great focus, I feel a feeling that is nothing short of wonderful…
I feel the intense honeysuckle-on-your-tongue sweetness of something fleeting and precious which will soon be gone.