Friday, August 31, 2012

An Open Letter to Cora

I wrote this for Cora after her first day of Kindergarten on August 15th. I'm a bit late in posting it, and I've not read it to her.  It will be for her in later years to read and understand.  But here it is nonetheless.

My dearest, dearest little one,

Today you took a big step in the biggest adventure any of us will ever encounter: life.  Today was your first day of Kindergarten.  While we’ve had our share of firsts together before today (first day of day care, first day of pre-school, etc) today was somehow symbolic of something bigger.  Today, I didn’t just leave you in the care of others, hoping that they would teach you, guide you, and love you; but today I gave you over.  No longer are you in the relative protection of this mama bird’s wingspan.  Today, as I watched you walk up that new cement walkway, I gave you over to the world. 

We had no tears – neither you nor I.  And for that I was thankful. It was hard to hide my own nervousness – would she make friends, would she like her teacher, would I get a phone call halfway through the day – but it was what I knew needed to be done so that we could both take that walk with excitement in our steps.  Aside from the treat in your lunchbox, the note in your bag, the hug and kiss, the last gift I could leave you with was seeing a happy, proud, excited mom who just knew you were going to love this strange place – even if inside, mom wasn’t so sure. 

Your teacher asked that we not walk you to your classroom.  That instead we find a school helper and let them lead you the rest of the way.  I understood her point – this was to help prevent those last minute “oh my gosh this is real” tears and tantrums (from kids AND parents!) and so I respected her request.  But as the kindhearted blonde in the white and black dress took your little hand in the atrium and began to lead you down that long, long hallway I wondered if I’d done the right thing.  As your little figure got lost in the swarm of students, parents, and faculty I craned my neck for one last view.  And then you turned around. Just to see if mama was still there.  And I was.  As I always will be.  I will always be just behind you – supporting you, cheering you on, believing in you.  Even if you can’t see me.  But on that day I caught your eye just in time and gave you a huge grin and a big wave.  Then you were off again, and got swallowed up in the sea of kids off on their own adventures.

No matter what the next 13 years brings you – and even on beyond – my prayer for you is simple:  remember how very much you are loved, and how very much you are worth.  If you grow up knowing those two things I have done my job and will be happy.  You are my sweet, kind, gentle, sensitive, deep-feeling, curious, smart, darling.  And while those traits will serve you well and endear you to others, they can be hard to live.  Your feelings will be hurt a little more easily.  Your pride will be bruised more readily.  Your self-esteem will be chipped away over things most children would never notice.  And I worry for you over that.  But I would not trade your nature for anything.  Because it will make you into a wonderful woman who has a heart to share with the world and gifts that only God knows the limits of.  And today was the first step on the way to getting the tools you need to share that gift in the best possible way – whatever that may be.  And I hope you share it with alacrity.  I am so proud of you.

I love you Cora Claire.