Hey little buddy. Well, I made the mistake of blinking. They always say not to.
In just two more days you head off to kindergarten. We're heading into the final weekend that marks the end of a big and precious chapter in our lives. I can't believe that when we wake up in just a little over 48 hours we'll be making sure your backpack is packed just so, dressing you in your first day of school clothes, double-knotting your tennis shoes for extra recess safety, heading off to our traditional first day of school Village Inn breakfast, and then dropping you off at a building much, much bigger than you.
And here we go... I'm crying just typing this. I promise I'll be tougher on Monday. (At least in front of you. I took the whole day off work so that I can pick you up the minute that school bell rings and spend the entire afternoon and evening talking with you about your day).
Two years ago, I wrote a letter similar to this for your big brother, Jaden. Sending your first born off to school isn't easy - nothing prepares you for it completely, and in a way, I kind of dreaded that day for months. I can remember filling out his registration forms in the school office and then sitting in my car in the school parking lot afterwards, calling Nana Nancy, sobbing that I wasn't ready, that Jaden is too small, and the building is much too big.
And here we are, in the same chapter again - with you. But it's still a different feeling - because you're our baby. And I don't have the comfort of knowing that there's another baby at home to do this again with in a couple of years. First milestones are big and exciting. First steps. First loose tooth. First days of preschool. Last milestones feel heavy. Of course they are exciting, too. (I'm so excited for you) - but they are also filled with a level of sentimentality that can consume someone like your mommy - who feels deeply for every single first and last. This is it - our last first day of kindergarten. And I blinked.
So here is my prayer list for you as you enter - as we enter - this big day ahead.
I pray that you keep your sense of awe in the world around you. That you continue to notice the beauty in a dandelion, that you'll still chase butterflies when you get the chance, that you'll continue to look up at the moon and count the stars as the sky goes dark around you. I pray that you don't outgrow the swings at recess any time soon, that you make lots of new friends - just by being entirely who you are - and that you change for no one. I pray that you stay unapologetically you. I pray that when you're having a tough day, you remember to whisper a prayer to the God you know and love so well - just like you told me you did at daycare a few weeks ago. (Little boy, you have no idea how proud you made me when you admitted to me that you had been naughty in the morning, went to the bathroom, and quietly prayed in your private time in the restroom that God would help you do better the rest of the afternoon). I pray that art class is everything you have anticipated it to be and that it only encourages your passion for the arts as you continue to learn and grow your artistic talents. I pray that no one dampens your spirit of creativity, but that if they do, because at some point they probably will, I pray that you will find your way back to it - because it is such a huge part of who God made you to be. And the world needs you - they need your creativity and the awesome things you make with it. I pray that your passion for reading and learning doesn't get diffused and that you don't feel like you're being compared to your older brother who has already made his mark in that school. I pray you make your own way and carve your own path and leave your own stamp. I pray that you don't lose that infectious laugh or your energetic zest for life and that you keep your sensitive and affectionate ways. I pray that you keep your gentleness with animals, my little boy who tends to caterpillars, is his softest self with baby kittens and finds the greatest joy petting Lucy. I pray that I still get to hear you sing to yourself when you're on the potty for a few more years yet, that you'll continue to let me lay beside you in bed while we say prayers together, and that the twinkly light in your eyes continues to shine on the people who surround you. I pray you surround yourself with those who treat you kindly and that you continue to find the most comfort in a few verses of "Jesus Loves Me." I pray for your safety and your health, that you use your gut instincts to help you make smart decisions but that when you make mistakes, you never fear coming to us and telling us about them so that we can be there for you as you work your way out of them. I pray that you still hold tight to our special bond, loving me so well like you already do, but that you also don't fear letting go a little bit. You can let go - I'll still be here.
And I also can make some sure promises to you. That there will be good days and bad days - good times and hard times. But that we're in this together. And we'll celebrate the good days by catching fireflies or watching a sunset or skipping rocks in the lake before bedtime. And on the bad days, we'll splurge on ice cream cones on park benches, M&M's in front of Netflix movies, sing a few renditions of your favorite Bible songs or go for walks by the river to chase the geese and let the sky above us make us feel better.
And I also promise that we'll work on your hair. I love it just as it is, but you're growing up and bed head probably won't be acceptable for too much longer. So we'll buy some gel and brush it a bit more, and I'll let you grow up little by little because that's my job.
So here we go... we're doing this. You're taking flight. And I can't wait to watch you soar. I'm so stinking proud to be your mom. Just know that no matter how old or big you get, in my mind's eye, I'll always see you as that adorable little five year old boy, flying fancy free on a tree swing - with not a care in the world except to go higher and higher.
You've got this. And we've got you.
Love you - "to the moon and back and more."