Today is your first day of kindergarten, and to say that I have mixed feelings about you starting school is an understatement.
The first thing you did this morning when you woke up was get dressed in your special first day of school outfit. All morning you were so excited to leave for school and you must’ve asked me if we could leave about ten times before it was actually time to go. I started crying as soon as we pulled into the drop-off line, but you never showed anything but eagerness. You smiled at my squeaky, high-pitched crying voice and waited patiently until I stopped the car in front of the doors. You gave us all double-kisses and hopped out of the car before I could even think to tell you how proud I was, to have a good day, or even good luck. A teacher approached you (I’m guessing she either sensed my anxiety or I just had that deer-in-the-headlights look of a parent new to school) and held your hand as she walked you in to the building. And that was it. You were gone, officially a kindergartener.
You’re my oldest, and you’ll always be my first baby. I won’t ever stop trying to take care of you and teach you, even though I know I can’t always fill that role. I know it’s cliche but it seems like just yesterday that we brought you home from the hospital and it was 100% up to us to keep you alive and turn you into a decent human being. And today, you started school and we’re not the only ones teaching you anymore. I worry that I haven’t taught you enough, that I haven’t been a good enough example, and that I haven’t prepared you for what you’ll face in school. I’m definitely going to be praying my heart out every morning as I drop you off, hoping that you’ll be safe, protected, and a friend to everyone you meet.
You are so ready for school. You did great in preschool last year, and even though you distracted the other kids from putting on their winter clothes and had to get moved behind your teacher’s desk, you also knew each one of their names and were a friend to all of them. You learned so much and you’ll build on what you learned there and this year in kindergarten for the rest of your life.
I’m so excited for you. I’m excited because I know you’re going to do awesome. I know you’ll be the one helping other kids when they are sad or alone and need a friend to sit by them. I know you’ll be the one volunteering to help your teacher do things around the classroom. I know you’re going to easily make friends with all the kids in your class because you’re the friendliest, most outgoing kid I know. I know you’re going to love going to art class and gym class because you’re creative and very active. You’re going to learn to read on your own and write more than just your name, and soon you’ll be leaving me little notes around the house telling me you love me. I’m excited to help you with homework or any little projects you bring home from school. You are such a great, sweet boy, and I know that you’re going to grow so much this year.
But I’m also sad. I’m sad because I’m going to miss you during the day, and your brother and sister are going to miss you, too. Our house is going to be so quiet without your dominant, outspoken, little boy voice. I’m also sad because I’ll never get as much time with you as I have had in the last five years. Weekends, summer, and holidays are pretty much the only times I’ll see you during the day. And I know that sounds dramatic, but you’re so cool and I wish I could hang out with you all day, every day. You’re not going to be with me for half of your waking hours anymore, and that makes me a little sad. I won’t be interrupted by you coming in to tell me you built a cool LEGO car during quiet time. I have to let go of you a little bit, and that’s hard for me. You’re heading to a school with kids from all kinds of families, and while I’m glad you’ll be in a diverse environment, I also won’t be able to protect you from everything anymore. You’ll hear bad words and encounter bullies. Everything changes today, and I can’t freeze time to make you stay this little and innocent.
I hope that I can learn as much as you do this year. I hope that I can learn how to maximize my time with you and support you in any way I can. I hope that you remember what we’ve taught you and how you can be a light to other kids you meet. I hope, I pray, I know you will.
Happy first day of kindergarten, J!