Today is your first day of Kindergarten and no one is in more denial than I.
The day you were born my heart cracked wide open—I had never been so happy or scared or in awe all at the exact same moment. You see, I was your first home. Me. Your first heartbeat took place right under mine and from there you grew and grew. You made wretch over the smell of coffee, cry over every commercial—you and I shared many (many) jars of Clausen garlic pickles and Steak Nachos from El Burrito Loco with extra hot sauce. You kicked and kicked when your dad would play the drums, so hard I thought you would eventually kick through. You outgrew your first home and broke free and claimed another one as they laid you on my chest. And that’s when it all ended for me—everything I thought I knew of love or strength or fragility or life was thrown out the window when I brushed that hair from your sticky forehead and sobbed in complete disbelief of what I had made. I remember telling you that it was “nice to meet you” and feeling sort of angry that I had to let other people hold you when I just wanted to wrap you up and keep you to myself forever. How was I supposed to let you go?
5 years have passed since then. I’m so grateful that there are so many people who love you; Even people who have never had the pleasure of meeting you. You are a force of nature, a kaleidoscope, an unyielding adventure. You are a sparkler on the 4th of July, the most glistening Apple on an Autumn tree. You are Christmas Morning, you are a champagne toast to ring in the New Year.
Today is hard for me. It’s not that I haven’t been away from you like this before because I have. It just seems so unbelievable that this chapter of your life is over when I felt like I was just skimming the pages trying to make it through. Life’s funny that way.
I wish I could memorize it all. How you walk on your toes and fly through life without fear. How you pronounce certain words like “breffast” (breakfast), “udder” (other), “potatoes” (tomatoes and vice versa) and “firsty” (thirsty). And god will I cry the day that those correct themselves because it really is the only tangible thread of your babyhood that I have left. I love your imagination, your spirit, your enthusiasm for life. I love that you still sleep with the same toy you were gifted for your first Christmas, Buddy, despite the fact that his buttons and lights no longer work and his ears and tail have mostly been loved off—no matter how many beautiful toys you have gotten since then. I love how you love your sisters. How you told me just the other day that you don’t want to grow up and get married because you want your little sisters to move in and live with you forever.
I couldn’t possibly copy all of this into my mind but your life thus far has freckled mine with treasure.
As you go into this day I just want you to remember how deep my love goes. That you couldn’t disappoint me if you tried. That your happiness is like air in my lungs. That you are good and special and kind. That knowing you makes me a better person and that loving you changed my life. That no matter where life takes you, you always know that I will always be home waiting for you with open arms, just as I was when you were curled beneath my ribs all those years ago.
Today is hard but it’s also so beautiful because there’s a classroom full of 5-year-old’s who get to meet you for the first time. And how envious I am of those little people.
Happy first day of Kindergarten, my first girl. I am so (so, so, so) proud of you.
Love you forever.