|Z at her graduation performance|
It was a bit of a different experience as a parent--and worker. For example, during her flawless performance when she was the feline reporter Kitty Mitty in her class' play, I was "backstage" behind a curtain. My sole job was ushering the kids from the stage to the back door and hallway. An hour of that (speeches+ 3 class performances) I was then the parent and watched her receive her "diploma" from the school's founder.
|Z's official grad photo|
I always thought the Taiwanese even having a graduation ceremony for kindergartners was a perverse superficial sentimentalism, or a cheesy demand of parents who fork over a substantial amount of their salaries to schools who at the end of the ride have to prove their worth. And it is that. But there is also this deep human need for ceremony for marking within the bond of community different phases of our life's growth, stages, transformations. I happily was denied kindergarten. I stayed at home or rather I ran around wild most of the day in the rattlesnake infested fields of the outskirts of a blossoming Phoenix Arizona, taking rides with the neighborhood teenagers on the back of their dirt bikes, playing with my best friend Brandy where development met the desert. My mom taught me how to read and I didn't go to school til I was in 1st grade in Aurora, Colorado.
|A few months after we moved to Tainan|
I admit that on that graduation night I was overwhelmed by thoughts that kept well under the surface had made their way to the forefront of my mind's eye. Namely, I asked myself if this would be my only child, my first and last baby. At age 6 she is still so baby like, her chubby cheeks and pot belly. She is going to real school soon, growing up and I might loose this "babyiness" forever. I asked myself things like if I would ever nurse a child again. If her father and I had worked out, what other beautiful children we might have had. Crazy things like figuring out how many child bearing years I have left (that would be 5, my cut off age is 42, but that might change). I didn't have so much time to process these thoughts, the next day I was taking us both on an early am bus to Taipei to catch a flight to Malaysia and our return to Borneo. That's ok, I'm gentle with myself and nonjudgmental. As I have learned in my young life so far, a whole lot can happen in a year. I hope I am savoring her childhood more.