You think it would be easier watching your second child head off to kindergarten. Been there, done that. Well, here I am with my number two who will be heading off to kindergarten in a few short days and I still don’t find this milestone any easier than the first time around.
All summer long, I have been reminded of how much I just love having you home with me. In all honesty, I wouldn’t trade these summer days for anything. A full house with young children and the demands of parenting is not easy to moderate all summer long, but it is hands-down my favorite time of year. I love waking up with nothing on the agenda, filling our days with baseball in the backyard, playing “hotel” and “school” with your stuffed animals, and spending hot summer afternoons splashing and swimming at the pool. We traveled to the beach. We stayed in our pajamas all day. We stayed up late watching the Olympics. We visited friends, near and far. This is what summer should be & these long, hot summer days are truly what make childhood come alive.
My little kindergartner, you have been home now for five, almost six years, with just a few short moments away when you headed off to afternoon preschool or playdates with friends. Besides those moments, you have been here with me safe and sound in the comfortable place that you call home. It’s hard to let you go. This past year, I have really tried to soak up the simple moments with you at home. Playing Legos at the kitchen table. Reading stories about sharks and pirates. Listening to the car, truck, and train noises from the playroom. Making paper airplanes and attempting to fly them in the backyard. I know that in less than one week, those moments are going to become fewer and farther in between because you will be spending your day somewhere new. Somewhere I hope you love…kindergarten.
Watching you enter kindergarten reminds me how fast time has gone with you. I think about the day that you arrived, so anxious to enter the world that I barely made it to the hospital before you were born. I think about when you were a little toddler and all you wanted to do was drive trucks in the sandbox and play trains at the train table. I think about your first day of preschool and how you clung to your stuffed dalmatian dog, Marshall, as your only source of comfort as I dropped you off with tears in my eyes. I think about visiting the aquarium last year & how you raced through the entire place just to see the sharks and watching you fill up with true joy as you sat among the giant tank in awe of the sharks swimming by. These memories are endless and wonderful and I’m so thankful that our brains can manage to contain all these memories for the time we can’t take back. Reflecting back over these years, I am reminded of how fast time really seems to keep going despite the fact that I want for it to stand still so we can hold on to these precious moments forever. Even though I am not ready to let time march on, I really have no control and I have to embrace the milestones that life brings us.
I knew that I would be sad when your older brother went off to his first day of kindergarten. He was my first and I really had no idea what it was like to have a kid in elementary school. Two years later, I am starting to learn the ropes and understand the school system, but it’s still just as hard to let you go. It may be even harder to let you go, because I know that this milestone is such a special one to cherish. Those first day worries never seem to go away, no matter if you have one or several children. Will you have a friend to eat lunch with? Will you find your way from the bus to your classroom? Will you thrive in a new classroom with new friends and a new teacher? I know that once you hit those school doors on that first day, you are no longer just with me. Someone else will be the one to guide, protect, and encourage you. Most importantly, that special someone else will teach you. As a parent, one of the hardest things to do is give up control but that’s what we do on this day. We squeeze an extra big hug and send you off, with a new teacher and new friends, to explore this new world of kindergarten anxiously awaiting that moment when you return home back in the safety of our arms.
Next week, as you walk into your kindergarten room for the very first time by yourself, I hope that you have the best day. I want you to explore your new classroom with enthusiasm. I want you to make new friends. I want you to love your new teacher. I want you to love school. I’m not ready to let you go, but it’s time to let you go. I know that you will learn from peers and teachers, things that I can’t teach you. I know that you are ready to make new friends and try new things. I know you are ready to have fun & explore a world outside your home. And not only are you ready, but it’s time for me to share my special little kindergartener with the world. It’s time to share the joy that you bring us, the love that you have for others, and the true blessing that you are. So my little kindergartener, enjoy that special day. I will admit that I am not truly ready to let you go but I am going to put my brave face on, along with you next week, and celebrate this big milestone that we have reached. Next week, I am going to walk into your big classroom with you, hand in hand, proud to say that you made it. You are here and you are ready. With that extra big hug and a kiss on your cheek, I will watch with pride and joy as you enter this special new world. I love you, my little kindergartener, have a wonderful day.