I worked on it off and on the last few days, and then last night after baths and books, I realized I'd never really finished and here was the night before school right upon me. So I rushed upstairs to grab my laptop only to be told, "I don't want you to read the letter, Mama."
So, I didn't. Instead, we talked (and cried) through her sudden realization that Mama and Daddy would not be coming with her on the bus in the morning or accompanying her to her classroom for the day. We talked about how good it is for her to tell us when she's sad and nervous, and we made a plan. But it twists a mama's heart to realize she can't fix the situation; she can only suggest tools for dealing with disappointment and anxiety. And the message I find myself repeating on a regular basis, "You can't be brave if you're not scared first. Brave means being scared and doing the hard thing anyway."
So, since she refused to listen to it, I'll post my letter here. And try again next year.
Maggie,Tomorrow you start Kindergarten. Tomorrow is the first day of thirteen years of school, the beginning of a grand endeavor.You are our superbrave girl. In your five years we have watched you learn to do difficult things, things that were scary, that you did not believe you could do. But you have! You climb high on the playground; you talk politely to people you don’t know well; you are developing the skills you need to become someone who “can read the words, not just look at the pictures.”Learning is exciting. “The world is so full of a number of things,” and school will provide an introduction to so many of them. Sometimes you’ll find it’s easy to learn. School will help you discover your strongest talents, and your work on those talents will always make us proud.Going to school will also mean you have to do hard things. Everyone finds school hard sometimes. For some people reading is hard; for others, it’s math. Some people don’t like sports, or music, or art, and others find it very difficult to pay attention. When learning is hard, it is important to ask for help. From classmates, or teachers, or us. The bravest people ask for help when they need it, and we know you are brave.You know what else brave people do? They watch out for others who are finding school hard and help out. Kids who need help might be crying, or alone, or looking like “uncooked spaghetti.” It takes lot of courage, but talking to or playing with a person who needs help is one of the bravest things you can do. Sometimes you can’t help the person by yourself, and you need to tell a teacher. That is not tattling; that is being brave and kind. Especially when no one else is helping.Every single person in this world struggles at times, and every single person in this world can make a difference through kindness. What we hope for you is that you use your courage to be kind. To yourself and others. Ask for help when you need it, and help others in turn. You can make the world a better place.We love you to pieces, Sweet Muffin. When you get on the bus tomorrow morning, our hearts will be bursting with pride. You are our WonderGirl! And when the bus brings you home in the afternoon, Mama will be waiting.Love,Mama and Daddy