My New First Grade Baby,
Yesterday, I pulled a shirt out of the wash and thought, “when did I get this? Have I ever worn it?” My heart skipped a beat when I realized it wasn’t my shirt, but yours. Can you really be so grown already? Just yesterday you were curled up next to me in bed, your head in my neck and your scrunched up feet barely reaching past my chest. Now here we are, looking at first grade coming quickly over the horizon.
A few months ago, when you walked down hallways that smelled like books and paste, I wasn’t sure we would make it to this day. (Who am I kidding? I KNEW you would make it; I wasn’t sure I would!) On meet-the-teacher night when you saw the self-flushing potties, I saw your bravery falter. Then, a few weeks later, you declared that you were no longer afraid of them and had been using them during the day! You learned that fear cannot hold you, you claimed your bravery, and I finally exhaled.
Before kindergarten, sitting down to go over letter sounds led to fights and complaints about how much you hated reading. Jut the other night at our friends’ house, you gathered up all of the younger kids and read them an entire Little Golden Books story as if you had been made for it! Your imagination is full of new adventures, and the world has been flung wide open!
When you cried in my bed the morning you told us a boy had been bullying you, my heart wrenched and raged inside of me. We talked about your worth, about lies people tell, and about how what they say will never change the truth of YOU. I held your hand as you walked back into that building, everything in me wanting you wrap you up and run home with you in my arms. Texting your teacher throughout the day, I learned that you had found your voice, that you had spoken up for yourself and for the other girls! You learned your words have power, that you can use them to change the world around you for the better.
Friendships came easily, but the inner workings of relationships are always work. Compromise and compassion had to be learned, but when you embraced them, your little troop of girls (I mean “kittens”) came together to create a new language and games that included anyone who wanted in! Learning to be a good friend may be the most important thing you learn in school, and you are well on your way.
New challenges came each day, and you tackled them with enthusiasm. Things that you struggled with early on became easier. I got to watch you stick out the hard times, learn to hold your violin, learn to put together words that became sentences that became stories. This year you learned you can do hard things, and in doing so, you can do great things.
I am prouder of you than there are words to tell you. Your toothless grin and endless drawings and stories are just external evidence of a breathtaking transformation. Leaving the cocoon of home and walking down those halls has given us both wings. I am learning to share your awesomeness with others, and seeing you learn to love is my gift. Your new colors are brilliant and fierce, you will surely leave a mark on this world, and I can’t wait to watch you stretch these new wings and fly.
I love you.