This face is how I see you. The huge eyes, full of wonder and a whole lot of mischief. There is a freshness to you, an innocence. Your life has been full of long, free days and your imagination has grown like a wild vine. I love watching you become.
But on the eve of your first day of Kindergarten, I worry. This is what mothers do.
I worry that you will lose your quirk. Your spunk, your spark. I worry that structure will spoil or stifle you.
I worry that you won’t be kind or that other kids won’t be kind to you. I worry for your tender heart, which has not yet been trampled. (Except by your brother, because that’s what brothers do.)
I worry that your teacher won’t get you or won’t appreciate your off-the-wall non-sequiturs or that she will grow impatient with you when you are caught up in your daydreams. I worry you won’t make her laugh.
I worry that you will change tomorrow.
You will leave the house, fresh and new and with your wild boy’s heart, but how will you come home?
I suspect you will be cranky and so tired you will fall asleep on the five-minute ride home or on the floor in the middle of your LEGOs. I fear that I will be short with your whining, brought on from the weariness of the first of many long days at a desk.
I am afraid I might ask the wrong questions, the kind that will shut you down from telling me how your day REALLY was.
But I have hopes, too.
I hope that the structure and the discipline will widen your creativity, giving it healthy boundaries to flourish. I hope that you will learn to sit still enough.
I hope that you will love well. (But not love the girls TOO well, my sweet boy who talks already of who he’ll marry and how many kids he will have.) I hope that you will be energized and not shut down. I hope that your mind will light up as though with fire by the new things you learn.
I will do my best not to cry tomorrow, just like I did my best not to cry last year when your brother started Kindergarten. I make no promises or apologies.
Your sisters, though? Quin may not notice, but Cooper will spend tomorrow and many days after asking, “Where’s Lincoln?” I know this, because she did that all this past year when you went to preschool two days without her. She is your shadow, wearing your shirts half over one shoulder, down to her knees like a dress. Now she will have to learn to be the one followed as Quin shadows her.
Tomorrow starts a new reality for our family. I am sad most that it has been so hard to appreciate all these long days up til now that they are ending. Loud days, wild days, days where sometimes I wanted to close myself in the closet, if even for five minutes, just to have some peace in the chaos. I have to fight not to choke on regret for hours lost and tempers lost and moments lost in the fray.
Because now my days and hours with you will be shorter. I can’t know how many of my worries or my hopes will come to pass, but this I know: our hours together are shorter.
Tomorrow, your bright eyes and infectious smile will move to a class with 21 other students and they are so very lucky to have you. Do this for me, though: come home still smiling with that same light in your eyes.