Jessica Ashley facebook twitter babble voices pinterest is a single mama in the city, super-savvy editor, writer, video host and shameless shoe whore.
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This is how preschool ended

With a boy, sweaty but beaming in a construction paper crown with a big letter K, announcing to a class of twenty small children, many more parents, a handful of grandparents and the whole listening world that he is ready -- so ready -- for kindergarten.



With a gifted, wonderful teacher, both speaking and signing how proud she is of these kids, how much she will miss them.


With grandparents yelling out "woohoooo!" from the crowd. With the "chokey-neck polo" I made him wear and a "cool skater hat" he exchanged for crazy hat hair.


With friends and fearlessness and squeals and the sun beating down while they triumphantly sat on top of the monkey bars like a mountain they'd been climbing for two years. (First serious, then silly -- it's the best bargain for mamas who want at least one pic without a finger up the nose.)


With tears, mostly mine, to see so close up how far this child has come in that time, how much awaits. 


With an overwhelming sense of sadness to say goodbye to the neighborhood built up around a classroom. With excitement for  all the reading and money counting and shoe tying and journaling and opening lunchboxes alone and laps around the track and the empowerment of walking upstairs to his classroom that is just a few months away.


With a nod to the universe, who heard when I whispered to please please please send us in the direction of a school that was safe and bright and happy and helped show him to love learning. With a wink to the two of us for walking that path and taking off in a full-force, free run through transitions and pain and awkwardness and tears and celebrations and curiosity and court dates and play dates and time apart and huddling up together to right here, right now.

With a folder full of paper and projects that mark stops along the way, that show the progress of writing his long old hyphenated name, that reveal the details of self-portraits, that unveil story and after story after story about Clone Troopers and other kids' baby brothers and his own baby cousin and light saber duels and (sigh) poop. With his handprint sealed into a mural on the last bathroom with the tiny toilet and small sink.


With a serious look eye to eye when Lil E told me decisively, "I'm not completely comfortable with going to kindergarten yet, so let's keep working on that, OK?" And a hug and equally decisive whisper back, "Yes, we will talk about it a little bit every day until you are." With a smile that shares a quick "we've got it covered" between us before he races off for a second celebratory ice cream cone.


With the just a gleam of all of this that made the most bittersweet, beautiful picture, all done up in white glue and glitter.

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