Just one blink of an eye and — BOOM! — we suddenly have another preschool graduate in our house. Clad in a white cap and gown, the Little Sis graduated from her pre-K program last Friday, and tears were shed, but not for the reason you might assume. Yes, my baby is no longer my baby, and it’s moments like these that harshly remind you of that fact.
No, the tears came because, unfortunately, I had to miss my little one’s major milestone because of a work trip that put me in Dallas when I really preferred to be sitting in an uncomfortable metal chair in the preschool’s gymnasium. It wasn’t the end of the world, of course, but it’s difficult as a parent when there are other obligations that force you to not be there for your kids.
I’ve been fortunate over the years because I’ve had such flexible work situations that allowed me to be there for everything else my kids (and/or The Husband and I) have deemed important — trunk or treat events, awards ceremonies, volunteering opportunities, etc. However, I’m in a position right now where I switched jobs recently, and with that job comes somewhat frequent travel (about 10 trips this year). Being such a new employee, I really didn’t feel like I could say, “Hey, so this first trip you need me to go on — but yeah, I think I’m going to bail on it.” If I were a longtime employee, I could see how it might have been easier to say such a thing, but as someone who is still new and learning the ropes, it just wasn’t in my best interest overall to do that.So I sat in a hotel conference room instead of at my baby’s graduation.
But, I chose not to focus on that end of things, and offered The Little Sis my support and excitement before I left, after I returned, and on the phone when I was gone. I had The Husband take plenty of videos during the ceremony, and I recruited some good friends to take some pictures for us. No, it wasn’t the same as actually being there myself, but I know better than to beat myself up about it. Long term, she’s unlikely to remember much about preschool graduation, let alone the fact that I wasn’t there in person.
In fact, now that I think about it more, given how terrible my memory is lately, give it another couple years and I myself will forget that I wasn’t actually there!