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The Difference Between High School & Preschool

High School

When dropping my teen off at his high school I always tell him to have a good day and do his best. The usual response I get is an unintelligible murmur followed by a series of grunts. He then drags his war-ravaged backpack across my dashboard or the back seat depending on where he's thrown it. Then like clockwork, no matter how many times I tell him, no matter how many times he apologizes, he winds up and slams my car door as if he were going for the gold in a championship game of handball.

I watch him skulk off to the school entrance, walking like he's headed for the electric chair. I shake my head and wonder what happened, trying to remember if I was that way. I probably was.


Entering my daughter's preschool is like walking into a live action cartoon. There a bright colors everywhere. Handmade art and pictures of little smiling faces adorn the walls. The sound of children laughing and squealing perpetually floats in the air (followed sometimes by a sharp reprimand of "No Running!" from a teacher). The staff is usually smiling. And everyone calls me "Dad", presumably because knowing all the children on a first-name basis doesn't allow for enough RAM to remember the last names of their parents. My daughter bounces into her classroom and her little classmates happily call out to her. Everything is little, clean and cute. She sheds her jacket, hands it to me to hang up for her and goes to wash her hands in a sink situated not too far from the floor. I always manage to chat with at least one parent for anywhere from two to ten minutes. And without fail before I leave, my daughter hugs me around my legs and says, "I love you, Daddy," before being herded off to some activity.

I walk to my car, slightly missing her, and at the same time thinking how amazing it must be to learn anew and experience every single day as a brand new one. I try to remember my preschool days, but I can't. I'm too old.

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