Our little fellow is growing up and joining the ranks of compulsory education. I intentionally chose the word compulsory…because given a choice, Tucker would not go to school. He’s not a big fan and probably won’t enjoy the routine for a long time. In fact, we have delayed his arrival to public school as long as possible. This year, he attended a private kindergarten at a nearby church. This program offered a shorter school day and no school on Friday. It was a minimalist approach to ease Tucker into the shocking reality that he will be in school for more than a decade. In parenting Tuck, we have learned (the hard way) that he needs some form of a “warning” before any major transitions occur… otherwise, as my Dad says…”You might as well be pushing a rope.”
Tuck is stubborn (I don’t know where he got that trait?!?). He also should have attended school in 1940’s instead of 2010. He doesn’t care for cute “learning” songs or sweet alphabet animals. He likes the facts and just the facts. He can tell you anything you want to know about Neil Armstrong and the first lunar landing. He is also particularly astute on the subjects of the founding fathers, Abraham Lincoln and World War II. Clearly, these topics are not covered in a kindergarten curriculum. While it’s nice that he has such a grasp of American history, it tends to cause a disconnect in the regular classroom. We need Amelia Earhart mixed with Rosy the Riveter to be his teacher. I’m already praying for her!!!
Tuck is under the illusion that when you graduate….school is O-V-E-R.
For him, that catchy Christmas tune “the most wonderful time of the year” was written for that fateful day when he exits the school doors. Yesterday, I watched as he slowly walked toward me dragging a brown paper sack. Inside that special bag was his “life’s work” from this school year; his kindergarten dissertation if you will. I couldn’t wait to open the pages of his three-ring binder to observe his learning and witness his growth. My excitement ended when I stopped on one of the first pages. I noticed that the teacher had made a list of questions to ask each student about his/her future plans. She wrote down their dictations for each parent to savor and enjoy. I am always skittish at these “proud” parenting moments. Somehow, my children have never cooperated or joined their peers in normalcy. My worries were confirmed when I read Tucker’s response to the following question: “When I grow up, I want to…..”
Most kids wrote things like, I want to be a doctor, a fireman, a nurse, etc… (typical…right?!?). Not my Tucker. His response to this question was unique. He said, “When I grow up, I want to…live with my parents.”
Yikes! It looks like it’s going to be hard to push our baby bird out of the nest!
On the upside, I guess I should be grateful that Tuck is honest. Most graduates from college have his plan in mind, but never put a voice to it. At least we have advance warning and can prepare to include him in our retirement savings.
My only hope at this point is that they don’t announce each student’s “future plans” as they cross the graduation stage tonight. I can envision the scene….”Hannah would like to be a teacher when she grows up, Robert would like the be a rocket scientist, Tuck Neeley plans to… live with his parents”….you get the picture. It just another day in the life and something to be added to the Neeley Archives.
Congratulations to all graduates big and small!!!