My Big Girl,
How can it be six years already since you birthed me into motherhood and a raw, completely vulnerable new love? Holding tiny new you, first grade seemed an eternity away. Yet here I am sitting in a house eerily quiet – no little one to make requests for this or that, ask endless questions, or tell me they need the potty when they know perfectly well how to go about it on their own. On this first day of school, which somehow marks the passage of time for me more than your birthday, I’m left with my thoughts in a quiet that equally delights and terrifies me.
So here’s what’s swimming around in my head – to love you best, I have to conform to each new season. My heart keeps expanding but I have the responsibility to teach you to need me less each year. That’s one crazy paradox – loving you more and letting go more each year!!! I need grace for that. Perhaps the restlessness in every mother’s heart is the anticipation of saying goodbye a little at a time.
But you know what, I’m really truly excited for you! I’m excited to see your mind blown by God’s amazing world, numbers soar higher than 100, words start jumping off pages, signs and bill boards like it’s effortless, more of history put in its place filling in that giant puzzle in your mind. I’m excited for the teachers that will get to look in those big hazel eyes each day, to know wonderful you and fill that inquisitive mind. I’m excited for the friends who will teach you how to be one.
I’m excited for me too. Your momma doesn’t like solitude – I kinda run from it, but it will be good for me. In this new oasis of rest, God’s calling me to just be and stop striving. What else? Well editing those photos you’re always critiquing over my shoulder just got easier. Dinners will be more interesting and in wider rotation (you’ve been warned). Momma’s going to the gym for the first time in six years to address that “puffy belly” you love to poke. Who knows all the good things in store!
But at the end of the day, the BEST part of every day will be seeing you standing with your “car friends” at pick up, that giant back pack sagging off your shoulders, as you scan parents’ faces for mine. Sometimes I hold back to just watch you and really savor the next part – that part where we lock eyes and our hearts beat together saying, “yeah, she’s mine and I’m hers.”
Have a wonderful year, sweet girl. Learn all you can, remember what you’ve learned already. Put others before yourself and you’ll always have a friend. When you can’t do something, try again. You are so many amazing things I can take so little credit for.
Forget the moon, I love you to eternity and back.
Every first for your sister was celebrated but, I’ll be honest, celebrating your firsts is bittersweet as they’re also my lasts. I hope you haven’t picked up on that and won’t read this until you can understand. It’s just ironic how you’re always looking up to your big sister, insisting on a booster seat, glass cup and big girl bed (often before you’re ready) while I claw at time begging for it to slow down. It’s why I picked up a camera and haven’t put it down.
In the two years since your sister started school, you and I have been good buddies. It’s been both amusing and maddening to see how much you gloried in my undivided attention and were then unwilling to share it when your sis got home. Evening the score on the bulk of alone time she enjoyed the two years before you, I suppose.
Between you and me (minus all the photography classes you’ve been forced to be my subject for), you got the better end of the deal. In the two years before you, I was a high-strung newbie mom still figuring this gig out and often too frazzled to be grateful. By the time you got your mom-and-me time, I knew what mattered. So I’ll miss the dolls we played every morning, the princess conversations in the Target aisle, belting out “Life is a Highway” on the highway, Music Together togetherness and long cuddles just cuz.
Despite the good times, bigger pastures have been calling you and praise God for that! You’ve been really excited about today and, as much as for your sister, I’m excited for you. C.S. Lewis said “The proper aim of giving is to put the recipient in a state where he no longer needs our gift. We feed children in order that they may soon be able to feed themselves; we teach them in order that they may soon not need our teaching. Thus a heavy task is laid upon this Gift-love. It must work towards its own abdication. We must aim at making ourselves superfluous.” (The Four Loves) Heavy task? You bet, but the hard work starts now for the time when my mothering days fold up gently.
Here’s the thing, that great big school that feels a little scary today is filled with wonderful people and pre-K is going to be a blast. This is the fun stuff before the real work begins, so enjoy your rather expensive kiddie ride while it lasts. The experiences you’ll have in pre-K will test your dad and my training but also mold and shape you in ways only others can. I pray for many things when you’re apart from me sweet girl: a caring hand to dry your eyes, a friend to soothe hurt feelings, a firm reprimand when you’ve forgotten kindnesses we’ve taught you – oh and attentive drivers when you cross that hellish intersection to go to the city playground (I really dread that part of your day).
You are my heart walking around outside my body. You are loved so much it hurts but your Heavenly Father loves you infinitely more. Go forth in His strength and conquer pre-K because, school world, I introduce to you C—!