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A Letter to my Kindergartener

Well, Buddy, you’ve arrived. The day you said you had been waiting for your “whole life” came this week. You went to kindergarten. You had a big summer of firsts: you rode on a boat, learned to swim, went boogy boarding with your daddy, started taking showers all by yourself, swam in a lake, rode on a golf cart, and sang on the stage at church. And here we are at your next first thing; you’ve gone to school. You’ve been talking about kindergarten non-stop and your daddy and I were only concerned that your level of expectation and excitement was so high that you’d be let down like we were at prom. I’m delighted that you were so ready to go to school and I know you’ll love learning for all your days, but I must admit … your mommy is still in a bit of shock.

You see, I remember the first time I felt you move inside my womb, just about the time I quit throwing up every day. I can’t help but grin when I remember what it felt like for you to hiccup in utero. I always thought God designed your ears to perfectly fit my hands because you have a little indention that perfectly fit my thumb when I would nurse you. My mind and heart are full of middle-of-the-night memories – pacing and singing to you, rocking you, and lying in bed hoping you’d go back to sleep. We were together when you took your first steps across the kitchen of the tiny bungalow your dad and I bought when we got married. It’s been such a delight to witness your speech and mind and personality develop. You communicated so much and made such rich connections in the world before you could really talk. I’ll never forget the time when I was eight months pregnant (wearing a skirt) and you refused to come down the slide without me at Chick-fil-A. It’s been a delight to plan each of your birthday parties and surprise you with walks to Krispy Kreme for a treat. You’ve had the sweetest little friends with whom I’ve planned dozens and dozens of play dates. What a blessed boy you are. It seems ridiculous now, but I cried every time I dropped you off for the entire first week of preschool. I’ve loved watching you play and create and design. Your mind amazes me. I love to run with you and watch you play hard and score goals and throw a frisbee and hit a baseball. There’s perhaps nothing I’ve enjoyed more as your mom over the first five years of your life than hearing you pray; you’re so genuine, approaching God as if He is your Heavenly Father and you’re his precious child. Your heart and compassion for other people blows me away. You’re going to be a strong, tender man, which is quite a rare find.

So, yes, I’m having a hard time grasping that it’s time for you to be in kindergarten. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m over-the-moon excited that you’re doing so well at school! But I must admit, it feels so strange to pull through that car pool line each afternoon at 2:30 and see you walking toward me from that big school with all those big kids after I haven’t seen you for seven hours. You’re my firstborn. As Elizabeth Stone wisely said, “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” I’ll forever be connected to you, Buddy, for you were once a part of me.
I very much resonate with the book I read to your little sister before bed tonight entitled If I Could Keep You Little. The reality is that I don’t really want you to stay little because if you do I’ll miss seeing the richness of God’s good plan for your life. I can only imagine the great man that you will become. This I believe wholeheartedly – you will change the world. I believe your life will influence many and bring much glory to God.

Your school administrators have declared tomorrow “Independence Day.” Parents are no longer permitted to walk you to your class. It’s time for you to walk the hall by yourself and, although I’ll never let you know it, I’m way more sad about it than you are. You’ve shown so much courage this week, so it’s my time to be courageous and celebrate your Independence Day.

Ashlee Johnson

Ashlee is the wife of a pastor, mom of two busy little ones, and a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Seminary. She is passionate about communicating the truths of Scripture to women and magnifying Jesus as the All-Satisfying Treasure and Almighty Redeemer. She has lived in North Carolina for most of her life and loves making the most of the sidewalks and parks in her 1940s neighborhood. Ashlee enjoys healthy eating and exercising, but finds it nearly impossible to resist homemade cookies!

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2 Comments

    Kandace G

    2nd Sep 2016 - 9:41 am

    I’m sitting outside the vet waiting for my tears to dry before I enter. Thank you for putting into words all the emotions going through my head. My girl loves kindergarten as well. Being 9 months pregnant has added some extra chalanges to this translation. I think chalanges we will look back and definitely laugh about. Proud mommy.

    Lori Travers

    2nd Sep 2016 - 1:24 pm

    Hey hon…though It’s been SO many years since I’ve experienced this, the pain/joy/fear/trust returned fully after reading this! Yes, tears are flowing bc parenthood is all about holding on and letting go. Sometimes the tension between the 2 creates anxiety. Be assured that as you continue to speak words of affirmation and love over him, be will be secure enough in you and Barrett to move forward bealthfully, yet know where his roots lie.
    This little man has no idea how inredibly blessed he is to have parents like you! ?

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