Toddler is about to start school. And yes, it is only playschool and she only goes for three and a half hours a day, but this is the beginning of the end. Once she has made this giant step, she is walking off into her own life one tiny toddle at a time.
From now on, we’ll need to consider school holidays when planning family trips. From now on, I will need to label her clothing and mark her lunch box, packed with healthy snacks and love. From now on, she will be learning and experiencing things away from me. It’s a giant step for both of us.
For those of you who have been through this, trust me, I know that I will make it out on the other side. I also am pretty sure that she will love it. But there are always fears and insecurities associated with change. She’s got her backpack and is so excited for this adventure. I've got my tissues on the ready.
So I wrote her this letter for her first day. I know she can’t read it yet, but I know that God can. And one day, hopefully, she will hear the words and they will still ring true.
My Darling Girl
Today marks the start of a big adventure for you. Off to a whole new environment. You’ve been ‘stuck’ at home with me for over three years now and while I am sure you’ve had fun, I know that this day will really mean the world becomes your own giant toy box.
I pray that you learn a lot. School is for learning, after all. I pray you learn some maths, some language, some art and some music. I pray you will learn to catch a ball and throw one, to balance on a beam and to build a tall, tall tower. I pray you learn how to listen and how to speak. I pray you learn how to play nicely with others and give others space when they need it. I pray that you learn to hug someone when they are upset and to say ‘sorry,’ (and mean it,) when they are upset because of you.
I pray that you are spared hurt. Not that you won’t come home with bruises and grazes and the occasional plaster or two, no. That is part of the learning process, after all. I pray that emotional hurts won’t occur too often. Children can be cruel and this is something that already makes my jaw tense and my knuckles whiten. And my heart break. The thought that you, my precious first born, will be a victim of cruelty, is something I dread. I also know that being hurtful and cruel is something that, in the end, hurts us. And so I pray that you are spared the hurt from that as well.
I pray that you remember to be kind. You are an exceptionally kind child and I honestly pray that it continues. I pray you remember to say “Please” and “Thank you.” I pray that you remember that you come from a home where you are blessed, but that not everyone is as blessed as you are. I pray that you will always remember to be generous and to share. I pray that you remember to be obedient.
I pray that you make special friends. Some of my best friends to this day are friends I made in play school. I pray that you can dance and sing and play in puddles together now. And in years to come, I pray that you can dance and sing and play on sport’s fields or concert stages together.
I pray that the teacher will see what we see when we look at you; a precious, sensitive little soul, frightened of much in the world, but willing to try almost anything when holding the hand of someone she trusts. I pray she will see that you want to please and you want to be attended to. I pray she will understand that when you have a strop, it’s always for a reason and that reason is usually food or sleep related: you’re either tired or hungry. I pray that she will help you continue to flourish and grow.
I know that I may cry a lot when you walk off today. I am guessing you may be in tears too. But this is truly a magical day. I loved school and loved learning, even when I was naughty or disobedient. Precious child, know that I am only crying because although for many years in my life the phrase, ‘Time has flown,’ has been bandied about and almost applied, only on this day, do I truly understand what it means. Just yesterday, you came into my arms as a tiny newborn babe, dependent on me for everything. You weighed next to nothing and had a tiny head that fit into the palm of my hand. Now, you are exquisitely beautiful and tall. Your hair hangs below your shoulders and hand almost covers my palm. You’ve grown so much and so quickly.
Never stop growing.
Never stop asking, “Why?”
Never stop singing.
Never stop being in awe of nature.
Never stop being the truest little ‘you’ you can be.
Lately, you’ve been spontaneously telling me that you love me, and that you are proud of me. I always feel a warm glow in my heart when you say that because I know that you learnt those words, and the feelings associated with them, from me. I pray that you remember that no matter what: no matter what you do today or tomorrow, who you befriend, what you wear, who you marry, what you become; I will ALWAYS love you and ALWAYS be proud of you.
Enjoy this milestone, my darling. You’re in for a wonderful time.
With so much love
Don’t worry, team. I will be okay. She’s going to absolutely love it. And I am really looking forward to spending some quality time with the youngest.
Once I stop crying, that is.