My darling almost-kindergartner,
In a few short days, I will put you on a big yellow bus, and as I watch you disappear down the road, I won’t just be saying goodbye to my firstborn child. I’ll be saying goodbye to an era–the most magnificent era of my life. For the past five and a half years, we have spent every single day together, all the minutes between our morning hug and our goodnight hug, from sun up to sun down. You and me. We have played together, explored together, eaten together, napped together, read together, learned together, laughed and cried together, grown together.
I have watched you miraculously morph from the pinkest, roundest baby I’ve ever seen into a strong, clever, kind, brave, and loving girl. I could not be more proud of the person that you are. Every time you flash that stunning smile with those enormous sparkling eyes of yours, it takes my breath away. How is it possible? It is an enormous privilege to be your mommy. I thank God for the invaluable gift of time that we have shared during your early years. I would not have missed it for anything in all the world.
There is no question; you are ready. You read chapter books. (Mom brag!) You love horses, sea creatures, volcanoes, birds, eggs, and nests. With the brain of a scientist, the eye of an artist, and the language of a writer, you will surely blossom on your new journey. You have a heart for animals, for fairness, for adventure. You are going to love school.
Maybe you won’t love school right away, though, and that’s ok. You’ll probably be nervous–anxious about all the unknowns, scared to speak up or go out on a limb, or overwhelmed by all the people and newness.
But you’ll find your way.
Other kids will be drawn to your silliness, your kindness, your stories. Soon you’ll have a best friend, maybe a girl your own age like you’ve been hoping for. I will pray for her, as well as you, that both of you will bring out the best qualities of the other. Stronger together, may two be better than one.
For the first time, I won’t be the one to correct you when you make mistakes, help you up when you fall, or comfort you when you are sad or lonely or hurt. I’m counting on others to step in for me, and be there for you during the times when I can’t. You are brave enough and you are strong enough, and I know you can handle anything that comes your way. Sometimes things might feel scary. You might feel disappointed, or embarrassed, or alone. When that happens, know that a piece of my heart follows you around wherever you go.
If you take some deep breaths, and close your eyes, you’ll feel me right there with you.
When you open your lunch box and see those healthy foods I packed just for you, that’s my love, Baby. Eat up, and grow healthy and strong. Some days you might get a Lunchable and a bag of Cheetos, and that’s my love, too. I hope they put a big smile on your face. Other days you’ll eat school lunch, because I want to fill your belly with warm food. If I can’t be there to make you homemade food, I’m so grateful there’s someone there who can.
When you hang your backpack on your hook, or take your pencil box out of your desk, or swirl water over those bright circles of paint, my love is right there with you, Baby. I love you and believe in you and can’t wait to see you thrive and grow in your new school.
The truth is though, that love is not in the objects that I’ve just mentioned. The lunchbox, the backpack, and the pencil box all hold little reminders that I love you, but they will always be just objects. Objects that can break, or get lost, or disappoint. The real love is in your heart and mine, and everywhere either of us goes, we always have it with us.
I can’t climb on that bus with you. Those are your steps to climb. I won’t be there with you throughout your days at school, but you’ve got my words in your ears, my lessons in your mind, and my love in your heart. Soon, you will have a room full of ideas to discover, a teacher who cares about you, and classmates who will become your best friends. You have everything you need.
So go get on that bus, Baby!