I remember dropping you off at daycare the first time. You were just three months old. I sat in the waiting area, dreading the moment I would have to hand you over. Above my head hung a picture of a bunch of preschoolers in graduation gowns. I looked down at you and thought, that will be you soon. I was right about how fast it all happened but nothing would prepare me for how it happened.
Five years later, I snap a single picture of you on your first day of elementary school. Virtual classes from home are about to begin and we are already late. I had been up since 4 a.m. praying for you, and I hoped it would have gone better than this.
I know that this isn’t the entrance into “big” school that you deserve, but it’s where we are.
This year you will learn many of the same lessons in a brand new way. A way that both fascinates me and scares me. As we sit side by side on your first day of class, you grab my hand as the teacher mispronounces your name. “Is that me?” you ask. I unmute your microphone and watch you speak your first words as an elementary schooler.
I imagine that to be the 2020 equivalent of those first steps into a new school. My throat tightens ever so slightly. The truth is, you were great, you learned a new song before lunch, and virtually waved to a little girl who had the same name as you.
I can’t help but think about all the things you will learn this school year. All the new words you will learn, the new skills you will acquire and the new friends you will make.
I can’t be sad about 2020 anymore. It did its job and if we are lucky, we will all learn amazing things.
For you, I hope you learn to speak up whenever someone mispronounces your name. I hope you learn confidence in things that have nothing to do with anyone’s evaluation of you. I am glad you will learn to be technologically savvy much sooner than I did. In the midst of a health crisis, I want you to remember how amazing our bodies are and why we need to take care of them.
I pray you learn to appreciate your grandmas even more than you did before. I want to see you discover a new hobby that brings you joy for years to come. And to love your younger brother more each day. I love seeing you discover the power of prayer and grow in your understanding of who God is. Finally, I hope you learn to love learning and see it as a beautiful process and find ways to share a little of your magic with everyone you meet.