The day we brought you home from the hospital, I was overcome with love and fear and fatigue. Today, a little over five years later, these same emotions rise up in me again.
Those first few weeks of having you with us involved getting used to an entirely new routine for us, your parents, and especially to savoring every little bit of you. We got to learn your little cries, relish the scent of the top of your head, your sweet baby breath, and all those little bits of you that continue to grow and change every single day.
We watched you as you reached those developmental milestones- rolling over, sitting up, babbling, eating solids, first words, first string of words- that all parents boast about with new babies, but secretly are relieved about, because they provide proof that “everything is ok”. You made that first year so easy because you were always happy, smiling. You were the kind of baby you could bring everywhere, and I am forever grateful that it was you that introduced me to this whole parenting thing.
Soon, you became a big sister, and while some days were hard, in the end, that little person that arrived just 23 months after you has become your best friend. I hope that you always love each other, even when you argue, as much as you do now.
When you started preschool, it was hard to watch as you struggled in a new environment. A lot of your challenges were simply around a second language issue. While you think you want your kids to be the best, the smartest, the most talented, the most liked, but as parents, you quickly realize that you just want them to be happy and to believe in themselves.
Today, we sent you off to kindergarten. Just like on that first day, I am so fearful for you alone in that great big world out there. Five years ago my fear had so much to do with how much you would be relying on me to show you the way, and today, today my fear is that I simply cannot be beside you every moment. I know you are going to a good place, that you will be well-surrounded. But still.
I want you to know how much I have appreciated these last five years with you. That I really have had the best opportunity I could have ever hoped for. I am grateful for having been able to let you sleep in, to have been able to watch you sleep in, all the meals we have eaten together, the adventures we have been on, seeing your face when you look out at the first snow storm of the year, the ice cream cones we have shared, the baths I have supervised, the pom-pom animals we have made, and even the park visits, as you learned to slide, to swing, to climb, and to run. I have celebrated all your accomplishments, and will continue to do so, with as much encouragement and joy as ever. I hope I have given you the best tools I could, that you know that we believe in you. I will not deny there have been some days when I have found it hard to be in this role of “Mama”, yes, but there is nothing more worthwhile than this. You have made me a better person, a grownup, a better artist, a lover of simple things, more humble, less judgemental. You have reminded of the beauty of imagination, of a good laugh, forgiveness. I cannot imagine my life without you.
I am so proud of the amazing little girl you are. I love your wit, intelligence, sense of humor, and incredibly kind and gentle nature. You are the best daughter anyone could ever hope for, the most amazing big sister, and just an amazing person.
Have an awesome first day. Be your best. I will be waiting for you at the schoolyard gate.
All my love,