Military Dad Comes Home to Surprise Kindergartner With Diploma at Graduation (VIDEO)

Zachary ChandUntil you are the parent of a kindergartner, you don't really "get" why parents get all weepy during the graduation ceremony for a bunch of 5-year-olds. There's just something about knowing they've done it, they've completed a whole year at "big kid school" that hits you right in the guts and turns on the waterworks. But the kindergarten graduation at one Florida elementary school just swiped the category for most emotional.

Ava Chand didn't just get a diploma that says she'll go on to the first grade next year. She got to see her daddy, US Army Staff Sergeant Zachary Chand, for the first time in more than a year. The soldier surprised his new graduate right in the middle of the ceremony by handing over the piece of paper. Take a look:


Add my tears to those in the audience. I couldn't help watching this brave soldier talk about how hard it is to be away from his kids for 13 months in terms of what he misses specifically during the kindergarten year. It's the year when most kids make a giant leap toward independence.

Suddenly they are spending most of their waking hours away from their parents, and they're doing things that we will never know about. I try asking my daughter about her day sometimes, and it's like trying to infiltrate the CIA. I am never quite able to tell exactly what goes on or who she spends time with. Nearing the end of first grade, I'm getting less neurotic. But during the kindergarten year, my worries were non-stop: is she making friends, is she having trouble with bullies, does she wear her seatbelt on the school bus?

The kindergarten year marks a line in the sand of sorts between their babyhood and their march to adulthood. We have no choice about letting go when they step onto that bus that first day. We have to trust that it will be OK, just as military parents do when they pack their bags and go off to serve our country. There's a lesson in there, isn't there? Letting go of our kids is hard, but the rewards are wonderful.

What was the kindergarten year like for you and your child?


Image via pronews7/YouTube

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