Where Did the Time Go?

Tomorrow is the beginning of the end. It’s picture day at school. But it’s not just any picture day, it’s GRADUATION picture day.

I don’t think this service was offered when I was in kindergarten. Back in the late 70s, you just went from a half day of school to a full day. No muss, no fuss. Now, schools are tapping into the guilt of working parents and their wallets. I feel both irritated and saddened by the whole thing.

Six-month-old Finn – September 2005

It seems like just yesterday this little boy was born. Fueled by late nights, lack of sleep and constant crying, I never thought we would see the day that Findley would start school, let alone ‘graduate’.

Then reality set in, my maternity leave ended, and I went back to work. Findley started going to a Montessori daycare at 18-months old. He loved his ‘school’ and his teachers, and we all cried when he left two years later to start public school.

Findley on his first day of Montessori – Fall 2006

Fast forward two years and here we are, with a nearly-six-year-old getting ready to graduate to a full day of school. He has come a long way – he can read the newspaper from cover to cover, stop a slap shot, and hit a baseball into the neighbor’s yard without breaking a window.

He doesn’t seem too excited about having to get his picture taken tomorrow. I’d even say he’s slightly annoyed that he has to wear a gown – not a baseball jersey like he had planned. What he does like is that he will be immortalized in the school’s hallway. His class graduation photo will hang on the wall next to the school’s graduating kindergartners of years gone by. That idea alone pulls at my heart and plays to all of my sappy motherly sensibilities.

And then I remember the brochure that came home in Finn’s backpack. The order form that started the ball rolling. It asked for thirty dollars for the class photo, before a single picture had been shot. This was just to test the waters before sending home the proofs and order forms for individual pictures. This is where I got irritated.

I don’t buy the school photos. The concept itself seems a bit obsolete in today’s digital age. Although it is nice to have a yearly picture of the kids, I always have a camera strapped around my neck and we have more than enough candid, real pictures of Findley and Bronwyn. We don’t need the forced smile, brushed-out cowlick school pictures.  But a graduation photo – that’s something I can’t do myself, and photographers know it. And that irritates me. I can already see his little smile peeking out from under the cap, the fake bookcase standing behind him. And I want it sitting on my desk. And I will pay to have it there. Then I’ll wait six years until I can update it when Finn graduates to junior high.

Funny that six years no longer seems so far in the distance…