I can't believe you are almost done with kindergarten. It seems like just yesterday you were beginning to walk, unsteady on your chubby little legs. It may sound strange to you, but I wish kindergarten could last just a little longer. It went so fast. The years are going so fast. I know it's selfish of me to want them to slow down, especially when you're in a hurry to "be bigger." If you have children of your own someday, you'll understand it then. You see, there's something magical about this year in a child's life. He seems so little when he walks into that huge building, that font of knowledge, with a backpack on his shoulders nearly as big as he is. There's a certain letting go that parents are forced into on that first day of school. We're handing our babies over, lumps in our throats and cameras in our hands, worrying that once the school years begin, time will start to move even more quickly.
And move quickly it did. As the months passed by, I watched you grow into your backpack and grow into yourself, too. You made friends. You learned to read and to write sentences. You traveled to the zoo with your class. You had your first crush. You had your first E.R. visit. You made mistakes; you learned from them. You sang. You made art and proudly hung it on the fridge. You played sports and learned to be part of a team. You laughed. You cried. You were kind and goofy and brave and funny. For Valentine's Day you chose a gift for your teacher with the kind of love and attention to detail that is required when choosing an engagement ring.
You learned what it feels like to be left out; this taught you the importance of including others. You learned how special it is to have a true friend and be a true friend. You approached learning with wonder in your eyes, just like you approach the world. May you always love school and appreciate your education.
Your kindergarten year was filled with lessons and laughter, with friends and fun, with ups and downs. You were YOU through it all. As you get older, I hope you stay true to who you are. I know you won't be innocent forever, but I hope you'll hold on to your sweetness and kindness and humor. Hold on to everything that makes you YOU. Don't let the world change you. This won't always be easy. Even adults struggle with this sometimes. Please don't ever believe that you aren't good enough. You are perfect just the way you are.
As you get older, I want you to know that I will be with you through it all- the good days, the bad days, and the in-between days. You'll never have to look very far to find me. I'll be the crazy person in your face taking pictures and waving and cheering you on, loudly and dramatically. I'll be right beside you so you don't have to walk alone. And I'll be behind you in whatever you choose to do in this life.
The complicated days of middle school and high school are still a way off. I'm grateful for that. For now I'm going to hold on to the simplicity and beauty of reading together, cuddling up on the couch, and holding your hand. I'm going to hold on as long as I can, because the days are long but the years are short (something else you'll learn when you get older).
I am very proud of you, buddy. This year was magical in lots of ways. You have grown and learned so much. And your wish was granted: you've gotten bigger, big enough for first grade. I'm happy for you. Congratulations, sweet baby. Mama loves you.