Our six-year-old daughter, Lily, graduates from kindergarten today. Not only will she be the first of our children to make the move to ‘big school’, but she will be the first of our family to do so in the German system. She’s our guinea-pig.
Today’s the graduation party (called an ‘abschiedsfest’, or farewell party), where she gets presented with the enormous cone-shaped object (‘schultute’) that she and her teacher have been creating. I’ve had a sneak preview and it’s stunning: ballerina themed and covered with dancers that she’s cut out of cardboard and decorated herself. They even have hair. Some have earrings. All have big smiles. This schultute I get to fill with presents and on her ‘einschulungstag’ (the day she starts school), she opens it and finds them.
Lily is hugely excited about everything that lies before her. She is completely confident. Her German is spotless, and she’s ready to learn to read and to soak up knowledge.
But suddenly Mama’s got nerves. These I deflected last night with an all-night baking session for tonight’s party: two lemon drizzle cakes (thanks, Victoria) which have become my standard fall-back so easy and delicious are they, and pastel-iced fairy cakes with sugar flowers on. I’ve also cooked about a thousand sausages (this is Germany, after all) and have bought a huge fladenbrot from the lovely Greek stall at the Friday market.
Today, with no avoidance activities at the ready, I’ve got butterflies. I have warned everyone that I will probably cry, and MUST MUST remember to take tissues (possibly also not wear mascara). I even warned Lily that I might cry, but said they would be happy tears, because I am so proud of my big girl, and she said, “I will probably cry too, but they will be sad tears, because I will be sad to leave my kindergarten and all my friends.” Gulp.