My kryptonite: anything to do with the last days of school. The pictures in front of the school. The teachers getting teary; kids doing the silent cry in the parking lot, their used-up workbooks clutched to their chests. Teachers and kids doing a spirit tunnel-clap-out thing for the classes to the song “Celebrate (Good Times),” which I hate 364 3/4 days of the year. Graduation parties for kindergartners, a group of 25 children at an age generally best left to the professionals.

kindergarten graduation

Kindergarten graduation: toxic levels of cuteness.

The looming reality of spending weeks upon weeks with siblings who scream at each other that “I’m ignoring you until YOU DIE.” At 7:30 a.m.

Gets me every time.

How the kids have grown and what they’ve learned is evident. Evidence of my own change is only obvious in that vaguely older countenance and all the miles put on the car shuttling them to their out-of-district school.

(About that: I wrote last fall about our decision to enroll the kids in a suburban district; I can still murder forests and forests with all the words left to say, but that’s best done over tea. Let’s just say the year was what I expected. Stoplights, carpool lines, anxiety that we’ve made the wrong decision, but also wonderful teachers, engaged kids. Sure, my days are bifurcated around pick-up time: I will never, ever be available from 3 to 4 p.m. On the bright side, I’ve read a lot of books in that carpool line.)

The older these kids get, the more I see our lives separating already, earlier than I anticipated. My middle daughter stood on a step stool at kindergarten graduation on Monday. She read from a paper: “What I learned in kindergarten was to be a good friend to my friends.”

Good, I thought. So she’s not ignoring them til she dies: I take some comfort in that. That’s a large chunk of what I want from these kids in this world.

It’s fun to see: What kind of people are you becoming? What’s all this teaching you about the world? Will you think about your own schooling as much as your mother? I hope not.

Now, on to be with my independent people who are on the deck ignoring each other until they die. Happy summer, friends.

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On my long silence: In the last couple of months I’ve written almost two dozen stories for the local newspaper here; I’ve preached several times: I’m getting to share so many stories with so many people.

For stories, I’ve talked to a jazz icon, scientists, insurance agents, and nurses. (A couple of favorites: a nurse who came to America as a refugee; a scientist who found something that could help answer infertility problems; a few more I’m particularly geeked about, coming this weekend or later.) I’ve preached on making time to be a good neighbor (“What if Jesus meant that we should love our actual neighbors?” Oh, snap).

This is the dream, folks.