As You Go to Kindergarten

To my brand new kindergartener:

Look at you, my girl! You are so big, so funny, so smart. I’ve been crazy about you from the first moment. You’ve always made me awe. When you were born, I spent hours investigating your little features, considering your tiny frame, wondering about your budding personality. I was so curious about who you were, so curious about who I was, so excited for us to be together.

And baby girl, we’ve been together. It’s my favorite thing. I remember that first look, that first panic, that first word (I owe you one for making it “mama”), that first step, that first sickness, that first everything.

I remember that very first August. You were just a few months old, and you’d just discovered your voice, just discovered your hands. Strangely, I’d been discovering mine, too, how this voice and these hands that never seemed very special were necessary for your thriving, so clearly valuable, so obviously loved by you, such valued instruments for our togetherness. I’d never before realized the power of ordinary things like a person’s voice and hands.

That August, I remembering considering your tiny personhood next to friends’ kids on their first day of school, those big backpacks on miniature shoulders. Your shoulders were so much smaller. I simply couldn’t fathom the day would come.

But here it is. The backpack is big, and you are small, but not as small as you once were. And me? Well, my insides are a complicated smattering of gladness and sadness and gratitude for who you are and how you’ve grown and all this precious togetherness we’ve had. I’m so glad God continues to use my ordinary voice and hands as tools for your thriving and our togetherness. I’ll use them differently in this new season, but I’ll still let God use them. We’ll still be together.

Darling girl, that voice you discovered five Augusts ago, will you use it wisely? Will you use it to speak kindness, to bravely say what you think, to calmly explain how you feel, to offer hope, to apologize, to give an answer, even if you’re not sure it’s right? What a wonderful voice you’ve been given! What an instrument for the thriving of others! What a force for togetherness!

Those hands you discovered five Augusts ago, will you use them wisely? Will you use them to wave to the lonely, to comfort the sad, to attempt difficult things, to cheer for wonderful things, to try new things, to hold a pencil to write, and to hold a hand in support? What an instrument for the thriving of others! What a force for togetherness!

“Mama” was your first word, and even though you’re bigger now, you’re welcome to use it as often as you need to, because I’m here to help you thrive, and I love nothing more than to be with you. And as we enjoy a togetherness that looks a little different than it did when you were a baby, I want you to remember the One who invented togetherness, who came up with mamas and babies, who shaped your voice and your hands, who crafted your small shoulders and will help you carry that big backpack.

God loves you so much, and He’s with you always, wherever you go. Everything is new to us, but nothing is new to Him. Things can be confusing and overwhelming for us, but nothing is confusing or overwhelming to Him. Time feels like its slipping through our fingers, but He’s measured it just the right way, and He holds all of this together with hands that are immeasurably stronger than ours.

We can do this, my girl, because God is here with us, because his voice will guide us and his hands have shaped us. I wonder about him sometimes, feel curious about just how much he delights in us, and that’s often because of you. Because the way he’s caused me to delight in you — well, it’s a bigger helping that I can ever digest, and I know it’s just a glimpse of his delight in us, my girl. Just a glimpse.

Big backpacks, small shoulders, and wondrous things are ahead, my girl. We are ready because bigger hands hold ours, and we are not alone, not for a minute.

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