Yesterday. You started kindergarten yesterday. You walked into those doors a baby, your hand clinging to mine, my heart clinging to the knowledge that this is the first step in a long process of letting go. Letting you go. Giving you wings and space and freedom. And I pray I’m also giving you roots.
I look at you, and I wonder if I’ve done enough, said enough, prayed enough, loved enough. It’s only kinder, they say. But I know better; these last five years . . . they were just a blink. The next will be too. Then you’re 10, then onto 15, and before I know it . . . you’re 20. All of this unfolds before me in an instant as I prepare to walk you inside.
You cleave to my hand and whisper that you’re nervous. My heart lurches too, but I don’t tell you. For in that moment you need to muster bravery, and I’ve promised to be brave for the both of us. For when your courage falters, you can borrow mine. You can always borrow mine. Because what you don’t know is that you’ve been inspiring courage in me since before you were born.
So although I don’t tell you I’m nervous, what I do tell you is this:
You were created for a purpose by a purposeful God, and though my mama heart wants to cloister you away, the world needs you . . . your creativity, your heart, your light, your goodness.
There may be moments in your day when you feel lonely or sad, a bit lost or scared. Don’t sink into those feelings; instead, allow them to remind you that others are feeling the same. Then go. Go to the lonely, the sad, the lost or the scared and befriend them. Muster your courage—the bit you’ve borrowed from me if you feel you’ve misplaced your own—and welcome them into your fold.
I can’t utter these words as I drop you off, but I whisper them in a prayer. And then I leave, and it feels a bit like parting with my heart.
The hours creep by, and then it’s three o’clock. Your blonde braids come streaming down the stairs, your face lit by a smile and the faintest hint of newfound strength.
You did it. I did it. We did it!
I enfold you in a hug; your small frame melting into mine. This is kindergarten . . . these roots, those wings, and the beautifully brave tension of clinging tight while letting go. You unfold yourself from my grasp and clasp your hand to mine. We did it! And those roots sink a bit deeper as your wings stretch a bit wider.