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Child Steps Up
Prepares for Kindergarten graduation ceremony in a dazzling dress and cape; ritual gifts are exchanged
I refuse to let six robed judicial goons deny this child her well-deserved flowers.
This is the third end-of-year celebration Kina has had since the inception of The Daily Kina, but in many ways the most significant of the three. Songs were sung, capes were decorated, names were announced, her grandparents were watching. This time, unlike the last two, Kina had spent months with the other children in her class and had grown up with them. She introduced us to her friends and hugged them with abandon.
Laurea cried. And not just for the reasons that parents tend to at these affairs, but also because of the goons.
I keep telling Kina she’s a big kid, that she’s growing up. The dress she wore when she started Kindergarten went down to her ankles, and now it’s up to her knees. She’s learned how to read, how to be a good friend, how to be generous, and which of Ms. Chelsea’s earrings to compliment. She told me last night that she gave the lunch lady (whom she introduced to us at the school fair a few weeks back) a ribbon to wear in her hair, to thank her for being so nice. Kina understands so many things today that she didn’t in September. She is a big girl.
There is so much she still doesn’t understand.
Next year, she will be in first grade, which is why I think they have a little graduation in Kindergarten. First grade is like the first floor of a European building, in that we think of the ground floor as the gateway, the foundation. Kindergarten, like the ground floor, is special and sacred. Next year is the first year of school, supposedly, but really, if you ask me, this was the first year of school, and last year was the first year of school, like the year before.
Every ending fashions a new beginning.
Strangely, there is one more day of school, on Monday. Many of the kids will be out, but Kina intends to stroll on into the schoolyard next week and get some quality learning in. I have no idea what that feels like for her—this has been by far the most mysterious of Kina’s many first years of school—but she really craves the experience of unlocking new skills and stitching her classmates together (commenting on their crushes, making unsanctioned art with them, sharing her lunch). She clearly loves the person she is becoming, and she chases that person down every day. She will chase her down, with vigor, on Monday.
She is clever and strong.
I will not let the orcs take her flowers. They are not thinking of her, and it makes me want to scream, to set the court ablaze. With every day in school, she is marching towards them, and towards a future in which the control she has over her body and her future is questioned at every turn. She doesn’t see them and what they’re laying out. I won’t let her see them, but I have things to lay out, too. I spent much of the afternoon writing about how to intervene, how to support, how to compel somebody in power to restore Kina’s rights and protect her—this one kid, and the kid next to her, and the next kid, and all those kids who will someday need to reckon with their own power to birth children.
Today, when we were sitting in the sun and watching Kina sing her graduation song, resplendent in her cape and sequined dress, in love with her teacher and her friends, so much bigger today than on her first day of her third first year of school, I recognized in her the person she will be, and how much work lies ahead. Hard work. Work you don’t learn in Kindergarten. We all have ourselves to chase down, somebody to be.
We must be clever and strong too.
Donate to abortion funds, primary the goons, run for office. Tell them she’s coming.