I've hand-stamped tags to tie onto their little "diplomas", and baked 5 dozen cupcakes (there will be guests attending, you know!), including gluten free ones for Jude. My classroom assistant, Crystal, has been hard at work creating a slideshow of photos from the past two years, to the song "See You On the Moon" by the Great Lake Swimmers.
Each child created a Wise Owl by wrapping strands of cotton balls tightly around a pinecone, then adding pinecone-with-googlies eyes, a little paper beak, and some feather eyebrows and wings.
And then my assistant got into the game. She wanted more graduation hats...these ones made by painting the cup part from an egg carton, and adding a little square of bristol board. This has become a bit of a schtick with us:
I resist, she persists, I give in, she puts on the damn hats, then I have to concur: they're adorable.
I'll be in tears by the time everyone is seated. It happens every year. While I celebrate the many, many accomplishments these children have made in their two years with me, and marvel at the miracle of child development, I am reluctant to let them go. In a few years, they'll barely acknowledge me in the halls, which is as it should be. But I do love them so, and will miss their bright little faces: pigtails, missing teeth, freckles, tears, and the promise of all the years ahead of them. Have I mentioned that I have the best job in the world?