A letter to my oldest, revisited as I prepare to send her brother to kindergarten in a few weeks.
I cried a little Tuesday night looking through the pictures we took this morning, before your first day of kindergarten. Your smiles and goofy faces and laughter capture so much about you, yet they can’t capture everything I see when I look in your eyes.
Your teacher asked us what we’d like her to know about you, and I wish so much I could find the words to explain your magic to her: the way you shine in the smallest spaces, the way you brighten my heart and the very world around you.
Little strings of words only scratch the surface of who you are: loves books and animals and gymnastics, dance, and music; excels in storytelling; gravitates toward arts and crafts and pretend play.
Those things tell about what you do, but they don’t explain the way you share with your little brother at the exact moment he’s feeling left behind or the sparkle in your eyes when you realize you’ve learned something new.
We stayed with you today, completing a scavenger hunt and hugging you tightly before gathering with other parents for breakfast. I tried not to think too much about the way you nervously asked, “How long until you come back?” and instead concentrated on the way you looked so perfectly at home standing at the easel, patiently dipping your brush into the pesky wetness of watercolor paints.
My heart soars at the way you hung your backpack and shrugged off your sweater like you’ve done it a million times, and it breaks a little when I realize how many hours we’ll be apart every day now.
Wednesday I will kiss you goodbye and walk home with your brother’s hand in mine, uncertain how to adjust my gait now that I don’t have your hand to balance his.
I hope for you, my sweet girl, that you will remember to keep your hands open to the world, that you will share your gifts and your kindness and your heart with those around you, with abandon.
“How long until you come back?”
I promise, my love, I will always be there, tucked in your heart through the day and waiting on the ground to watch you fly.