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On The Eve Of Kindergarten

Dear Cora:

In a few short hours you will be starting kindergarten. Something irreversible will have begun, and though I’m loathe to see it happen I’m so proud you’re doing this so well. You’re marching forward with joy and anticipation and I’m doing my best to hide my sorrow so it won’t taint your happiness.

For yes, I am sad. You are my heart, my little love, and I will miss your daily presence in my life. And yes, I know you went to preschool last year, but five hours, three days a week is simply not the same as seven hours, five days a week. Last year we had two days a week for pure Mommy and Cora fun, and those two days were the best parts of my week. If I could put myself in your backpack, I surely would: I have spent the past week furiously cooking make-ahead breakfasts and muffins for lunches, labeling water bottles and laminating favorite photos for you to hide in your backpack. I’ve done everything I can, short of drinking Alice’s shrinking potion and stashing myself in your pocket.

But I am so excited for what the future will hold for you, love. You are ALMOST reading, straining furiously towards that goal, and I can’t wait to see your joy when it happens. You love hanging out with people and making friends comes incredibly easily to you, so this will happen a lot. You are so thirsty for knowledge, kiddo, that keeping you home would be selfish and borderline abusive, so ready are you to learn.

Here, though, is what I have to say to you about kindergarten. I do not care if you learn a SINGLE THING this year. I don’t care if you never learn your multiplication tables or where China is on a map. I couldn’t care less if you figure out how to jump rope or shoot a basket from the free-throw line. You could fail at all of these things, love, and I will still count kindergarten a success; all I ask of you is that you treat everyone you meet with kindness and dignity. Spend this year showing Christ’s face to everyone you encounter and I could not ask for more.

I am not saying this will always be easy. You will meet shy kids; mean kids who lash out simply because they don’t know how else to react; insecure kids who must tear others down to make themselves feel better. Treat these children not as they deserve, but as you know Jesus would treat them. Don’t leave anyone out because he’s a boy, or new to the city, or wears funny shoes. Remember, child, that your name means Heart of a Strong Warrior; show that heart to everyone you meet and it will be a year well spent.

You will be nervous; you will be tired; you will, perhaps, even be afraid sometimes this year. You are only five years old, after all. But I know you can do this. You are learning to stand on your own and remember, I am there constantly. I am praying without ceasing for you, love.

You are strong. You are courageous. You are compassionate.

You are ready.

Go get ‘em.

Love, Mommy


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