Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Open letter to my last Kindergartener

Oh, Lainey bug. I knew this day would come. The day has arrived for my last baby to head off to school. I wrote your sister a note before she started Kindergarten which you can read here and this one is the one I wrote for your brother. And now it is your turn as hard as that is to believe.  I wanted you to know a few things as our time together at home has come to a close. I apologize for how tightly I have held your hand this summer. Or how you caught me staring while you were playing. I was just trying to soak it in. Your little grin still filled with baby teeth. The way you still have a small lisp on the "th" sound. The way you furrow your brow when you are concentrating. I am trying to remember all of it.

You are my last one to start big school. Since your sister was born I have had a little one at home with me. For 10 1/2 years. I have been working part time since you were a baby but I always had at least two days a week home with you. I intentionally did not put you or your siblings in school on the days I was home so I could be with you. So for a very long time I have had a buddy to run errands with. Someone to take to the playground on sunny days or trampoline parks on rainy days. Someone to sit at the table with and talk as we ate our sandwiches at lunch.  Someone to curl up with with and watch cartoons in the mornings and walk to school with in the afternoons to pick the big kids up.

And now you are heading out the door as well. You are ready. You are beyond ready. And baby girl, as you head out the door tomorrow morning with your new backpack and your new lunchbox I want you to remember a few things.

1. Always be kind. You have such a huge heart and you love to be a friend to everyone. I pray you keep that wonderful trait always. You love to help people and I think you will have a good chance in Kindergarten. You have been up to your elementary school countless times to have lunch with your siblings or attend events but there will be a lot of kids who are new. Show them the ropes and be kind. Invite someone new to play with you on the playground. Share your crayons. Be a friend to everyone. I know you will.

2. Don't be in a rush to grow up. You want so badly to be a big kid like your siblings. You want to watch their TV shows and hang out with their friends and listen to their music. But you are only 5. Growing up happens far too fast as it it and you are only a kid once. Enjoy every second of it and hold on to your innocence as long as you can. It's such a good reminder to pause and enjoy every stage of life that you are in. And you, my dear, are in a great one!

3. Learn new things. For some reason people want to you to have things figured out at a young age. I don't know why but people put pressure on kids to pick a certain sport by a certain age and then stick with it. They want to know what you are good at and when they ask you that please say, "I don't know. I'm a kid. I like everything!" Try soccer and if you like it do another season. If you don't, then stop. Learn how to do a cartwheel, try shooting a basketball, dance to a great song, paint a picture of a flower, spike a volleyball.... try it all. That's what childhood is for! It's your chance to figure out who God made you to be. Never stop learning and never let anyone put you in a box.

4. Be patient with us. You are our baby and we have a tendency to want to keep you that way. We weren't as sad when your siblings hit milestones because we knew we still had you. Every first with you, whether it is a lost tooth or that first ride without training wheels, hits us a little harder. Show us some grace and give us a lot of hugs. A lot!

5. Don't worry if you don't have it all figured out. You will learn a lot of new things in Kindergarten and some of it will come easy to you but some things might be harder to learn. If you are having trouble with a sight word or a math equation please remember that you don't have to have it all figured out at once. That's why you go to school. To learn! Don't be afraid to ask your teachers questions or ask them if they can repeat something. You have a tendency to give up on things that don't come naturally to you but Lainey bug, you can do it!!!  As A.A. Milne wrote, "Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

7. Never change. You have marched to the beat of your own drum since the day you were born and we absolutely LOVE that about you. You are spunky, fierce, unique, creative, fun, loud and so many other fabulous adjectives. Don't ever try to be something you are not, my sweet girl. You have always done things a little bit different and in your own way and that is one of the best things about you. Hold on to that and never see it as something that makes you different. See it as something that makes you YOU! The amazing you that God created and delights in.

6. Always know how loved you are. This may be the most important thing of all. If you know this (really, really know it), you have a foundation for life. Your parents love you more than you realize. It's hard for you to grasp, but it's more true than you can imagine. But there's a God who loves you even more deeply than that, which is something I have a hard time understanding. God loves you without any conditions, no strings attached. You can't earn it, and you can't lose it. It just is. The more you realize this and live your life in light of this, the more confidence and joy you will have in your life. You. Are. Loved. It will never stop.
Now go out there and show the world what you've got! Sing silly songs, make new friends, jump up and down, read a great book and then come home to a family who loves you and who is so proud of their Kindergartener. Watch out, world. here she comes!

Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

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