Friday, May 31, 2013

Preschool graduation

Tonight at Rodef is preschool graduation for The Boy. Now, I know what you're thinking: "It's preschool graduation. It's meaningless." You're not wrong on that: the real work starts next year, with normal sized classes, a wide range of personalities (most of them, in the local parlance, trending towards being a jag), and disparate range of teachers. Preschool graduation is not exactly showing a long list of state-required competencies to be displayed; there is no graduating with honors, majoring in letters and numbers (although that WOULD be cool).

This is another way where it is not quite fair to be The Boy as opposed to his brothers. Because it's The Boy, with all of the commensurate health issues, problems, and struggles, it's a HUGE deal that he's graduating from kindergarten. Frankly, it's a huge deal that he's even alive at this point: while Wilms Tumor tends to have a high cure rate, bilateral Wilms with relapse has a significant failure rate. That's not to say that it won't be important when Little Bear graduates, or when The Baby graduates from preschool; it's just different.
Of course, we love our children roughly equally. I mean, you can't, really - they're different people, and you're a different person as a parent than you were for the other kids at that point. Equal is kind of impossible. I love my children with passion and enthusiasm, and I will be celebrating each accomplishment as they occur.

Over the course of my life and education, I've given significant study to passion and drive, motivation and innate ability. What I've noted is that the more time a person spends with someone or doing something, the better they know it. The better they know it, the more attachment they feel. "Natural talent" isn't necessarily about being able to sit down at a piano and magically play like you're Billy Joel. "Natural talent" is an inclination to spend more time playing piano that everybody else does. Natural talent is finding the activity that supports your learning styles and provides a satisfying way to spend your time.
Because of The Boy's issues and treatment, we have had to learn a lot more about him, his body, his responses, his learning styles, and every other aspect of his life than most parents know. I know that lots of that information is out of date, somewhat, and will be progressively more so as he gets older and his friends exert more influence, but we've spent an awful lot of time and effort on him. There has been a lot of sacrifice and work involved, moreso than for the other children. So, things are a bigger deal for him, partially because he's the first child and mostly because... well, you know. That concept of time invested vs. attachment is absolutely magnified when it's your own kid; doubly magnified because of the issues we've faced, and mostly overcome, together.

I'm certain that I'll cry tonight. It's what I do. I'm very proud of him: progressing from the kid who was starting in the 3-year-old class with a questionable potty record to a kid who is a leader and - even better - known as a nice guy. He's got a long, bumpy road ahead of him, but we're through the first couple of stages.

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