At the risk of sounding atypical, I hate to admit it but I've always thought that too much is made of graduation in this country. It's a milestone; that, I realize. But I grew up without the tradition of big graduation parties and instead was taught that education is a privilege and that those who go to school are fortunate for the opportunity.
You can imagine my surprise then , back in my pre-kids life, when I heard from friends that their offspring were "graduating" from elementary school, middle school, even preschool! I (secretly) laughed at these doting parents who purchased new clothes and gifts for the occasions they considered so momentous, and documented everything with photos. Lots and lots of photos!
As for me: when I moved to the United States in the midst of my freshman year in high school, I was just a few years away from a big milestone: high school graduation. That was when my parents imparted their philosophy that school is a privilege and a luxury. The celebration is intrinsic in being lucky enough to attend. Needless to say, I wasn't quite as excited as my peers to graduate from high school and then from college, and then with a master's and finally, after a few years off, a doctoral degree. (Well the doctorate was exciting I have to admit, at that point I was fully assimilated and of the mentality that I just graduated and I damn well deserved a celebration, which I got!).
While my parents lecture about how lucky I was to go to school rings true especially in light of so many children around the world who do not share that privilege, the fact that my son graduates from preschool has changed my outlook about celebrating.
Laugh at me all you will, especially if you don't have kids, but I have been converted. A friend who has a daughter at the same preschool signed me up to make the graduation cake for the ceremony and let me tell you, I am making a fabulous cake for my son who is SO excited about his big day. He keeps reminding us about what an important day it is and that all of his friends and teachers will be there. As his mom, I realize that next year he'll ride on a school bus and be away from me from me for most of the day, and it hits me: wow, this really is a milestone, preschool graduation. I'm going to celebrate it in a momentous fashion with my beautiful boy!