Your last "Special Day" at the Marilla Cuthbert School for Unspeakably Charming Children snuck up on me.
It was the last day in which one of your parents **points to self** showed up bearing healthy snacks that none of your friends would touch with a ten-foot pole.
It was the last day I'd have a chance to slip the photos I'd taken throughout the school year into the bags of your classmates. Photographs tucked in envelopes that you dutifully sealed with "Love" in a color representing their name ... Blue for Billy ... Magenta for Madeline ... Silver for Sierra.
It was the last day in which one of your ever-patient teachers would tilt their heads and cluck in my direction ... as I so obviously hanged the paintings in the wrong place or as I read books when I should have been helping kids put on their smocks so they could paint.
It would be the last time I’d hear their chittering as I broke some other rule ... such as talking to you when you were in line instead of making sure you were all as quiet as church mice.
It's been more than three years since you first walked through the doors of this cooperative preschool ... the very one I went to when I was your age ... the very one I lived above when I was a young adult.
You already know those stories, you say, rolling your eyes and looking upward when I try to retell them.
You also know numbers and the difference between upper and lower case. You can spell you name and recite your phone number. And every day you come home with a new letter and all the words you learned that begin with that letter.
Both of us have learned a great deal these last three years.
In addition to writing your name and remembering your numbers, you've learned to cut with scissors, recognize letters and understand about cause and effect, as it applies to so many things.
On the last Special Day I was finally proficient in hanging the paintings to dry, and collecting all the crafts so that parents wouldn't have to search. I easily did the chores that needed doing ... cleaning paintbrushes, wiping tables, vacuuming floors and taking out the trash.
I didn't even mess up snack time.
"O" was the letter of your last special day.
I brought the things we'd agreed on: Oranges and Oyster crackers and Olives (though you were quite sure no one would eat them). I also brought orange smoothies, blended at home the night before.
You helped. We blended oranges, pineapples, papayas, mangos and bananas with ice and orange juice, squeezing in the juice of a lime for good measure.
When we tested it you gave it your highest praise: "The most delicious of deliciousities I ever had in my whole entire world or worlds."
I beamed. And then I set the blender up for a second time ... this time adding kale to the mix and a plan to call the new creation "Oscar Isn't Such a Grouch After All Smoothie."
But as the kids' luck would have it, the blender broke.
And then your father gave me his patented eyebrow arch: "Kale? Really?"
"Yes, Kale. ... I just wanted to see Ms. Cuthberts' eyes roll back in her head one last time."
I didn't need a green smoothie to do that, all I had to do was put out the green tractor trikes in the play yard.
"In the wrong place again, mom. In the wrong place again."
Look out Kindergarten, ready or not here I come.