First Day

Dear Margaret,

Today is your first day of preschool. Excuse me, while I observe a moment of silence.


(Imagine the quiet interrupted by sniffles and hiccups and MY BABY! WHY DO YOU WANT TO GO AWAY?)


My goodness, darling. When did I become a mother? The kind that cries because you are leaving to color with someone else for a total of six hours a week. When did you become a person that jumps and hopes? We went to get your hair cut yesterday. The stylist was very accommodating and did her darndest to stick to my request for a "you know, 1920's bob meets five year old meets Amelie. Does that make sense?" (It doesn't.) Just afew snips and the little raspberry mark on the nape of your neck now peeks below your short hair. A tiny pink mark that was a part of you when we first met. I used to kiss it when you bent over to see the pictures in stories I read to you at night. Your first curls covered the pretty thing up and I haven't seen it since. And then there it was. A little piece of a baby you and I left behind years ago. The doctor says it should disappear by the time you go to kindergarten.

I hope he is wrong.

Just a few things that are true about you today, this new adventure in alphabet soup and watercolor day.

You love your sister. It is a to the sky and back, princess stories and skittles and a bowl of your favorite pinto beans kind of love. You cry for her whimpers and laugh for her smiles. In the morning you dance out of your room calling her name and at night you tell her stories into the dark. Last night, I listened to you sing a lullaby to her through the stillness in the room you share. It was a heart breaking, star shining kind of thing. The way you love others is one of the things I have marveled at in our few years together. It is at once tender and ferocious. Just exactly right.

You ask questions and are not satisfied until you understand the answer you are given. This week your biggest concern was the word "what". As in, Mommy, what does "what" mean? After a trip to the dictionary and a starter course on pronouns I thought I had answered your question. But you were really asking something that required more depth than read aloud definitions and grammar. You understand that you have found a word that can represent anything it needs to and that fascinates you. We've spent days talking about the words behind each "what" and you love it. It is humbling to watch you grasp at the power of language with excitement and understanding.

You are ready. I know that may seem silly to say. It is, after all, just preschool. But I suppose "It is, after all, just.." could be said by the older and more knowing about every stage of this blessed life. This morning, you will walk away from me for the first time of many. It is a short walk and I know there are friends and graham crackers at the end of it. But you don't know that and you will take the steps just the same. And my heavens, I can't think of a thing that has made me more proud in this big little life.

See you in a few hours.

Love, Mama

PS. I have a guest post on Bring Joy today! And maybe I disclose an embarrassing aspect of my younger self. Maybe.

See you there.