To my little graduate: 

I’m so proud of you. I used to think graduation ceremonies at this age were just a cute, end-of-the-year celebration. Now I see how much they really represent.

I watched you in amazement this year. I saw all of your hard work. Not just academically but socially and emotionally as well. You learned to make friends without me there. You learned how to make your place in the world. You have learned to deal with disappointment, stand up for yourself, and the awkwardness of not being friends with everyone. You dealt with teasing because of your Frozen backpack (why do we still not have “boy” Frozen merchandise?).

You told us you fell in love “for real life” and that you know who you’re going to marry (that’s changed three times over the course of the year). You want to be a husband when you grow up. You also want to make robots. You have a whole life that is separate from me now.

Less than a year has passed since you started school, but so has a lifetime’s worth of change. 

I see you navigating the world. I see you figuring things out. I hear your inside jokes and the stories I don’t quite understand because I wasn’t there. I see your whispers and giggles shared between friends. I see you understanding the rules of games we’ve never played before. I see you ready to jump in and play at the playground, no longer hesitant or just following older kids around. You’ve learned the world of your peers.

RELATED: Dear Kindergartner, I Could Not Love You More

I listen to your teacher, and I’m in awe of the things you do. Sure, you’ve learned writing and reading and math. But you also help your teacher. You bring joy to the classroom. You advocate for your friends. I see you taking the things you’ve learned at home to school, and it makes my heart swell. 

How is it that the baby and toddler phase felt like a lifetime, but all of a sudden you are a big kid? When did that happen?

There really is no baby left in you. You are tall. Your face has lost all the baby squishiness. It’s hard to explain, but you carry yourself differently now. You have become your own separate person.

Everyone says it goes by too fast, but I didn’t really believe it for the first couple of years. Time is rushing by now. It feels like just yesterday you hid behind us at kindergarten orientation. Now school ends and we get a quick hug before you rush off to play with your friends some more. I know that before long, I may not even get that hug at the end of the day.

You see, this isn’t just a celebration of making it through the first year of school.

This is a graduation from the first part of your life.

The part when I knew everything there was to know about you. The part when I spent more time with you than without you. This graduation is not just a cute photo opportunity. It’s a chance to marvel at your first big step into the world. It’s my first chance to let go a little. You will keep taking steps and I will keep letting go. Little by little, you will take on the world.

RELATED: Kindergarten Teachers Turn Babies into Big Kids

It is a graduation of our time revolving around each other. Your orbit is wider now, and while I may still be the sun, your trips back to me are much longer now. This is the goal of parenthood—to build you up so we can slowly let you go. I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet, but I’m along for the ride and going at your pace.

So congratulations, my little graduate. Here’s to one giant leap forward and to looking forward to where the journey takes you from here. 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Kelly Lang

Kelly is a recovering perfectionist who is learning to be good enough instead. She is married to her high school sweetheart and together they navigate life with two little humans and two angel babies. Kelly is a lover of deep stories and vulnerability and she is not afraid to talk about therapy, messes, grief, hopes, and dreams.

Once You Start Kindergarten, You’ll Be a Little Less Mine

In: Kids, Motherhood

I remember the very first time I laid eyes on you.  The road ahead felt so daunting as I lay exhausted in that hospital bed. Could I really do this? Was I ready to be your mama? But then the nurse placed you in my arms, and everything else disappeared. I can still feel all 7 pounds, 11 ounces of you. I can smell your freshly shampooed hair and hear your soft baby coos. All of it is etched right there in my memory. A mama’s heart never forgets those details, you know. The early days were slow, and even though they challenged...

Keep Reading

I’m Watching My Little Boy Become a Young Man

In: Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Little boy in a superman cape

I’ve been here before. This space between elementary school and middle school is familiar to me for I have walked this road before with my oldest son. This road is a place where childhood really starts to feel finite and the pull of adolescence finds its way into our lives. It’s a short road but one that feels endless at times and is often uncomfortable and scary. I’ve been here before. I’m no stranger to closed doors. Once again these closed doors fill the hallways of my home, a home that used to be filled with the sounds of two...

Keep Reading

Because One Day She Will Have To Walk Away

In: Kids, Motherhood
Because One Day She Will Have To Walk Away

  My four year old. And that hair. That gorgeous, long hair with the kind of natural, sun-kissed highlights that the rest of us pay money for. Cut only twice in her life, and so long it is making her look so grown up lately. She loves to have it braided, but equally loves to have it down, messy and in her face. I stared at this picture for a long time when it hit my editing screen. It made me emotional and I thought I knew why. I thought it was because I saw how long her hair was...

Keep Reading