I cried on your first day of kindergarten. Did you know that?
I held it together through the getting ready and the goodbyes—but once I had waved one last time and was pulling out of the parking lot, the lump in my throat poured out as hot tears down my cheeks.
How could you be starting kindergarten? You, my precious firstborn baby.
We had some growing pains as we adjusted to a new routine. The school days were so long. I spent my days missing you and you spent yours missing me. We were apart from each other more than we ever had been before, and even though I knew in my head that we were both ready, my heart said something else entirely.
It was tough, but eventually, we fell into a rhythm.
Now here we are, nine whole months later. As I’ve watched you blossom this year, I’ve been blown away.
You come home from school spouting new facts I’ve never heard before.
When you grab a book off of the shelf, you can read so many of the words.
You write little notes you’ve sounded out yourself, and you can tell time like nobody’s business.
You’ve grown so much academically, there’s no doubt about it. But beyond that—beyond the numbers and songs and ABCs—the biggest change I’ve seen in you is who you’re becoming.
You’re shy and there’s nothing wrong with that, but your confidence and independence have been magnified by your new experiences.
You’ve learned to notice the needs of others and reach out a helping hand.
You’ve found that getting along with others can be hard sometimes, but you’ve also figured out how to be a really great friend.
You’ve outgrown the shoes you wore last summer. The bottoms of your jeans suddenly hit the top of your ankles.
You don’t need me quite so much, and even though that tugs on my heart a little bit it’s also a welcome transition.
Being at school has given you the space you needed to spread your wings and soar. . . and me? I’ve been growing, too.
I’ve learned how to give you more space to become.
I’ve started sitting on the sidelines as you try new things—offering words of encouragement when I can, but also trying not to control every moment or dictate your every move.
I’ve rediscovered my identity apart from you a little bit, and I think you’d say the same of me.
Next week, you’ll graduate from kindergarten.
You’ll wear the most adorable cap and gown and I’ll probably cry more tears as I watch you grin over at me from the stage. You’re growing up. I both love that truth and wish it wasn’t so.
When I close my eyes, I can still see you as that dream on an ultrasound image.
A cooing newborn.
A wobbly toddler.
An excited preschooler.
And when I open them, I see you—my kind, smart, brave, not-so-little-kid who is ready to take on the world. I just know you are going to make me so proud. You already do, you know.
Wherever you go, whatever you do, just know I’ll be here growing right alongside you—sometimes holding your hand, sometimes letting you go, but always as a safe place to land.
We have a beautiful journey laid before us, you and I, and I can’t wait to step into it with you.