That first day of kindergarten feels like a million years ago when I think of all that you’ve learned since then. And yet to my mama heart it feels like only yesterday that I tearfully walked home from the bus stop alone.

That is how motherhood is.

Back then, at the tender age of five, everything about your school was new to you. It was big and intimidating. There were so many unfamiliar faces. You settled into the new routine as I settled into mine.

Now here you are, the upperclassmen of the elementary. A real big shot. A fifth grader.

The school has grown comfortable, the faces familiar, the routine boring. The place, that not long ago, I’d hoped you were ready for, you are now ready to leave.

That is how school is.

As you go through the school year, I hope you don’t get to big for your britches. I hope you remember what it feels like to be new and scared—there’s a good chance you’ll feel that way next year. So when you see a little kindergartner looking lost, ask him if he needs some help.

I hope with all of this schooling behind you, you continue to be curious. You don’t know it all yet, you never ever will.

Lots of people will influence you. Not all have your best interests at heart. They will make things like top-of-the-line shoes and cell phones feel like important things you need. You don’t need them (the things or the people). You will want to fit in. You will want things. Those things, those people, they will never make you any more or less cool.

That’s how comparison is.

Kindness is the coolest thing around. Trust me on this one. It never goes out of style. It’s always the right choice. Choose it boldly, even when it isn’t convenient or popular. Small acts of kindness will build your character and friendships. They won’t always be noticed or appreciated but are worth doing, regardless.

You will likely get some choices wrong. You will misplace trust. You won’t take studying as seriously as you should. You will talk when you should listen. You will try to fit in where you don’t. You will get your priorities mixed up. Life at any age is trying, failing, and trying again. Admit your mistakes, offer apologies and grace freely.

That is how life is.

More than anything, I want you to be yourself, just as God made you. The best gift I’ve ever been given. A true blessing. You’re kind, funny, and creative. So as you confidently roam the halls as a fifth grader know that I’m cheering for you, because you’re awesome.

That is how you are.

And just so you know, I’ll still miss you while you’re at school. There’s even a chance I cried on the first day of school. Because you are still my baby. I will pray that you find kindness, true friendship, and inspiration while you’re away. I will pray you remain safe. I will smile when you return home.

That is how love is.

Michelle Koch

Michelle truly believes that our lives are meant to be amazing adventures and that those adventures can keep us close to home or take us around the world. She dreams of living in the country, but within close proximity to a Target. She is married to a guy she has loved for more than 25 years and doesn’t feel old enough for that to be possible. Her son has her wrapped around his dirty little fingers. Michelle writes about seeking grace, celebrating beauty, and living with gratitude at One Grateful Girl. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.