My Sweet Baby Girl,
I know you are a big girl now, mostly because you remind me at least twice a day, but you’ll always be my baby. When you are sleeping, your arms curled into your body and your eyelids fluttering, I see your face as it was on your first day earthside. You were so new and yet so familiar. Looking down at you and studying your every movement; it didn’t seem real to me that someone so perfect could have grown inside of me and emerged from my body.
Your birth made me question everything I thought I knew. The immensity of the task of guiding you and keeping you safe made my heart race and my knees wobble. My postpartum brain came up with thousands of ways you could meet your demise, and I hardly ever laid you down until my arms were numb with exhaustion. You’ve been growing and changing each day since your first, sometimes from one second to the next, and I’ve cherished, sometimes through tears, each chance to watch you take steps farther and farther away from me.
Today, you will get onto a school bus and ride away into your future. I know you’ll only be gone for seven hours, but I think it will probably feel like weeks to me. There’s no doubt in my mind that you are ready for this next adventure, but am I? This won’t be your first experience with teachers or classmates, but somehow kindergarten seems more staggeringly monumental—like I’ll blink and you’ll be headed off to college.
I worry that you’ll be scared and I won’t be there to comfort you. I worry that someone will be mean to you and you’ll believe it when they say you are in some way wrong or incomplete. I worry that someone will treat you like a number instead of the complex and complicated little human you are.
I want you to know that you are cherished and adored beyond measure by me, your daddy, and so many others who love you. I want you to remember that you are worthy of their affection, even when –especially when—you don’t think you deserve it. In our eyes, you are the most clever, most imaginative, and kindest girl that has ever been.
I hope you’ll continue to see yourself as we do, even when you’ve done something you know is wrong or failed to meet your own high expectations of yourself. I hope you’ll be able to separate what you do from who you are. I hope you find friends who love you because of your quirks (my little zombie-princess-acrobat-pony) and that you don’t allow the idea of what’s “cool” keep you from discovering the myriad of experiences and people that are out there waiting for you. I hope you’ll see the humanity in everyone, class clown and lunch lady alike, and that you treat everyone with kindness and respect, whether or not they seem to deserve it, because I hope you remember that we are more than our worst day.
As much as I might want to, I won’t be able to protect you from pain or disappointment, but I hope I’ve showed you by example that pain doesn’t have to stop you even though it’s okay to let it change you. You are so special and loved, but we can’t keep you all to ourselves. A bright light like you was born to shine far and wide. So, I’ll send you off on the school bus with this blessing and all my love:
May you find friendships that sustain you;
teachers who see you;
knowledge that nourishes you;
passions that serve you;
books that shelter you;
pain that soon leaves you;
And, at the end of each day, may you find your way
home to the place where you are our joy.
I love you, sweet girl.