Sunday, August 18, 2013

An open letter to my Kindergartener

Dear Bennett,

I cannot believe that I am about to write this letter to you. I wrote letters to you on this blog when you were an infant. Here is one when you were only 8 weeks old and another when you were nearly a year old. What you won't understand until you have children of your own is that when I look at you I still see that baby girl. I suppose I will always see glimpses of her. I hope so at least.

 I tell you this all the time but one of the many things that makes you so incredibly special is that you made me a Mommy. I still vividly remember being in the hospital on the first night you were born.
You were less than 12 hours old and they had wheeled you out of the room to check your stats. I couldn't sleep until they brought you back in the room. Even though I was exhausted from the day's events I lay there listening for the sound of the rolling cart as they brought you back into our room. I would perk up every time I heard something rolling down the hospital corridor and would sink back down in slight disappointment as I realized the sound was passing by my room.

Your years at home with me have been the happiest of my life.
It was a hard decision to stay at home and stop working when you were born. I loved my job and I never envisioned myself as a stay at home Mom when I was younger. It just wasn't something that I ever thought I would do. But every time you got to curl up in your footed pajamas with me and eat your breakfast as we watched morning cartoons together, I knew it was worth it. I have had the immense pleasure of spending 5 years taking you to playgrounds, dollar movies, bouncy house places, playdates, and all the other things you do to pass time when you are a stay at home Mom to young children. Some afernoons we just rode around looking for horses so you could yell a greeting to them while clutching your sippy cup in your carseat.

Some days we spent all day in our pajamas coloring and watching cartoons. Some days we drove each other crazy. Some days you and your brother were best friends. Some days I wanted to ship one (or both) of you to China. But the time I have been able to spend with you was worth every time I wondered why I had a college degree. When money was tighter at times, I did wonder if my not working had been a huge mistake. But when I look back on these past five years, I know without a doubt that it wasn't.

As I leave you tomorrow morning on your first day of Kindergarten, I am torn. You have been to three different Mother's Morning Out/Pre-schools and they have all been at the church where Daddy worked. He has never been more than a stone's throw away from you. You have always been in the same building as your little brother. You have always been home for lunch with your family. Every single day since you were born. And now, all of a sudden, I am sending you out the door at 7:30am and I won't see you again until 3:00pm. Five days a week. This is a huge adjustment for your family. But you know what? You are so ready. Even if I am not.
I have been praying for you non stop these last few weeks and months and here are just a few things I want you to remember as you start this new chapter in your life.


1. God created you just as you are.
Psalm 139:14 tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God knew exactly who you were going to be before you even gasped your first breath. Don't ever try to be anything you are not. Some kids will be athletic and some will be artsy. Some will be both. Some will like the color blue while others prefer red. Not every kid will think like you or like the same things you like, but I never want you to try to be anything that you are not to fit in. Even if you seem different from everyone else, I pray you will always be the awesome kid God created you to be.

                                                      2. Be kind to everyone
 You may not know many people at your school right now and I know you are feeling a bit overwhelmed. And I hope you always remember that feeling. It helps to know what it is like to be the new kid. I pray it encourages you to try to talk to everyone you meet. You never know what kind of day anyone else has had and so always show your classmates patience and kindness. When you encourage someone you will make their entire day, but if you criticize them, they will feel it for a long time.

3. You won't be good at everything.
     There will be some kids who are better at some things than you. You will be better than some kids at a few things. And that's okay. So try out lots of things. Some, you won't be any good at, but you
can get better. You're a kid, and one thing that makes kids so special is that they can learn lots, and learn fast. They're like Play-Doh that can change shapes, not like concrete. Even after practice, you may still be bad at something. But that doesn't change your worth, not to your parents, not to God, and hopefully not to yourself. But there are things you'll naturally be good at. Don't ever brag about it, or make someone else feel bad because they're not good at it. Just know that that's the special way God made you.

                                                      4. Respect your teachers
We have been praying for your teachers for the past few weeks and will continue to do so throughout the year. Always remember that your teachers want what is best for you and want you to succeed. They may be going through things at home that you are unaware of, so treat them with the same kindness that you show your friends. You have so many teachers in your family and you know more than anyone that teachers rock! We are so grateful for them. My prayer for the year is Colossians 4:5-6. Lord, cause Bennett to be wise in the way she acts towards her teachers, making the most of every opportunity. Let her conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that she will know how to respectfully and graciously answer her teachers questions.

5. You have a family at home that always has your back.
Whenever you have a no good, horrible, I think I'll move to Australia kind of day, always know that you have a family that cannot wait for you to come back home. No matter how hard a test is or how mean a kid is on the playground, you have four people who love and adore you and are always willing to go on a bike ride or have family game night. The ties that bind can be incredibly strong, and the Lord has blessed our family unit with some pretty strong ties, my dear. I pray you always see your home as a refuge and as a source of encouragement and love. 

Well, there's nothing more to say except that you are more than ready! Explore the world around you. Learn all kinds of new words. Get excited when you realize that you can read those words. Jump in mud puddles on the playground. Laugh loudly in the lunchroom at a friend's joke. Pick a favorite book that your teacher reads at storytime. Learn to play a musical instrument. Have fun making fantastic pieces of art. The messier the better. We are so proud of you, Bennett. You've got this!


Donnie Manis said...

This was such a cool post, Lauren! Your children are very blessed to have parents who invest their lives in helping them grow up to be Christlike. Blessings to Bennett in her new adventure!

starnes family said...

Adore is not a big enough word. This is so special. And, I, too will always see glimpses of my children as special when it happens. Just a flash and then it's gone.

We are so blessed. Go, Bennett, go!