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A Letter to My Kindergartener Before Her First Day of School

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Photograph by Twenty20

Next week, my firstborn goes off to kindergarten. I thought I was ready. But last night, I had a full-on sobfest, even waking in the middle of the night with dreams of her as a newborn baby.

After some time to process, I decided to write her a letter. Maybe you can relate.

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To my great big, amazing KINDERGARTENER!

Oh, baby! Are we really here? Is it really time for you to go off to school like a big kid? Last week you told me you were a little bit nervous, but mostly excited. I'm trying to be strong for you. I'm making sure not to cry in front of you. And it's not because I don't think you're ready, it's because I know you are.

Baby, I remember the day I met you. I remember the color of you, pink and screaming. I remember when you were laid upon my chest. I remember looking deep into your big, dark eyes. We met for the first time, but I also felt like I'd known you forever. You were mine. You were amazing.

I remember how tired I was, getting up every hour or so to feed you. But how excited I was to see you again—to be amazed by you again!

Somehow, it's time for you to go off to school. Real school. ... It kind of feels like throwing a newborn baby into the great big world, until I step back and remember each moment.

I remember your first sneeze and the funny way you crossed your eyes. I remember that time you pooped and it shot across the nursery and sprayed everything in sight. I remember your first snow and bundling you up so we could experience the magic together. I remember strapping you to my chest and going for walks around our neighborhood or hikes on the trails behind our house.

Baby, I remember the first time you told me, "No!" How I almost laughed because you were so serious, yet so adorable. I remember you loving to read. You would squeal and grunt and help me turn the pages. I remember the way you watched out the window and waited for Daddy to get home each day. You'd bounce and jump and squeal "Da-da!" I remember the way you loved your first baby sister. It was hard on you, but you dove in and took care of her soon after she came home.

I remember the time when you got really sick, the kind that kept us up all night. The doctor came to the house to check on you. I remember thanking God over and over for you, asking him to make you better. I remember the first time you got a bad scrape. How I wished so much I could take away the pain. I remember the time you and your sister found a blue marker and "decorated" the walls. You thought you were so funny!

I remember the first time I noticed you were too big to pick up. You were heavy on my hips, and must have grown 5 inches overnight. I remember the first time you got a little lippy with me; I was equally shocked and proud, knowing you could stick up for yourself. I remember when you went off to preschool, and how proud you were with all you made and learned and did.

Somehow, it's time for you to go off to school. Real school. The same school where 11-year-olds go. It kind of feels like throwing a newborn baby into the great big world, until I step back and remember each moment. Each milestone. Each year. All of that has led us to this point. And you are so ready, my darling. You are going to be amazing. You are going to have so much fun. You are kind and brave and compassionate and I cannot wait to see you take off!

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So if I'm crying on your first day, it's not because I'm worried you're not ready. It's because you are AMAZING. And you are so ready. And I am so damn proud of you! (But don't say that word at school.)

With my whole entire heart,

Mama

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