A Letter to My Son, as You Start Preschool
I watch you playing in the front yard on the first day of preschool and wonder; how did we get here so fast? You're four now, and as I look at your smiling baby picture on the wall, it seems like your newborn days were so long ago. Yet at the same time, the last four years went by so quickly, as if in a blur. When you were born, and I left my employment to care for you full-time, it felt like we had all the time in the world before the school-age years would begin, but somehow, here we are already.
You're starting preschool now and getting so big. Your dad and I just bought you a new pair of shoes for school, and it was a size nine. Nine! You have big kid feet now. Just so big compared to the little newborn ducky socks you wore home from the hospital a few days after you were born.
This year, you're going to learn so much and have so much fun. I'm incredibly excited for you as you start this new experience. But know, dear son, I'm feeling all knotted up inside. As you start this new chapter, it also closes a chapter. Up until now, it's been just your brother, you and I, spending our days together. We wake up and make pancakes. We look for caterpillars in the grass and pick tomatoes from the garden plants. We deal with blowouts, sleep deprivation and meltdowns (including from yours truly; even moms have their moments). But this year will be different. This year, we will have new people in our lives, new people who will help mold you into who you will become. As I tuck you in the night before school, I can't help but imagine all your upcoming years. You're in preschool now, but that will turn into kindergarten and elementary and middle school. I can picture you graduating from high school and looking for us in the audience. After that, I can imagine your life going in so many directions, but whatever path you take, I only wish for it to be a path that makes you happy.
So I cry tears of bittersweet happiness as you start your first day. I'll think about our carefree walks to the park whenever we wanted, your focus as you drove your Hot Wheel cars on the rug, and how we explored the world together. I'll remember the days where I fed you a bottle, tried to comfort your cries, and engaged in a battle of the wills at nap time. And I'll keep wondering how the time moved so fast and hope that the next few years will slow down some.
As you start your first day at preschool, these feelings will remind me not to take you for granted. To cherish the time we have. To not dwell too much on the stressful and frustrating moments. To raise you the best that we know how. Because I know that those little size nine shoes will one day turn into adult size shoes. And I want to remain in the present, and be truly fully engaged in the time that we have while you are small.
When I ask if you're excited to start school, your little voice tells me yes, but I know you are nervous. Dear son, you have a soft-heart, and curious, sensitive and kind. Your dad and I will be the protectors you need, but we'll also teach you to fly. You are capable and you have it within you to soar during your school-age years. And along the way? I know that you will teach me so many things too.
I'll miss having all of the time with you, but I know you are in safe, steady hands at preschool. You have so much yet to see and do. My son, you're going to make the world a better place. You've certainly made my life more special by being in it. Now take your little Clifford backpack and have an awesome first day! I will be here, waiting to hear about all your new adventures.