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The First Step

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The day is here.

The day that I have been putting off for as long as I can. She is already 6 and she can’t wait another year to go to Kindergarten.

I see her try on her school uniform and she is ecstatic. I am barely holding it together.

She picks out her outfit and lays it on the couch because she knows her sister will still be asleep when she needs to get ready in the morning and doesn’t want to wake her. That’s our Adelynn. Always thinking about other people.

She chose a fun outfit. Even though she wears a uniform, she chose the hot pink polo dress with some chevron leggings. She chose fun shoes and she picked out the Frozen necklace she wears daily. She even laid out panties! That’s also our Adelynn, paying attention to the details.

Part of me looks at this girl and sees an independent and fun kid who is getting bored with summer. A girl who is ready for some structure. A girl who loves with her whole heart and can’t wait to make new friends and learn to read and write. A girl who knows she will look like her friends in her school uniform – but still has fun choosing her own leggings. A girl who chose the purple pencil case, because, of course.

Part of me looks at this girl and sees a petite little thing with Disney princess sized eyes and hands. I see that she needs my help with things still and she can’t possibly be independent enough to go to school. She just went to bed in footie pajamas and fell asleep by 7:50 PM! She can’t possibly be ready for this.

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To me this feels like the beginning of the end. This is her first day of going 5 days a week to school for the next 13+ years of her life. It’s not that she gets to go tomorrow and then we get a break for a while. This is it.

This. is. it.

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I want to hold on to her tiny hand forever and not let go. Her million questions per day sometimes exhaust me, but I don’t want her to only ask me half a million because she got the first half out at school. I will miss that. I will miss her.

She has so much to offer the world. She is so good at loving people and she is such a bright girl. I want to keep the rest of the world at bay so it doesn’t pollute her precious mind. But the world needs her. They need her light and her joy. I don’t know how they will see it if we don’t allow her into it. And so, we cast our feelings aside for a bit.

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We have been doing our best to prepare her. We have told her about the new friends she will make and fun things she will do. She has met her teacher and put her supplies in her desk. We have prayed for her teacher and her teacher told us she has been praying for us too.

I am excited to see her bring home her papers and beam with pride. I am excited to hear her tell us what she is learning and the Bible verses she knows. I am excited to pick her up every day and watch her skip to the car. I am excited to listen to her read and to help her with fundraisers. I am excited to watch the toes of her shoes scuff up more and more each week as she plays harder and harder.

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My Dad wrote a song that I want to borrow some lyrics from (So, copyright Bill Eldridge!) “Child you know I love you so though the journey seems so far. I will not leave you alone, I’ll be there when you fall. So come my child, please don’t wait. But the first step’s yours not mine. If the journey is a hundred steps, I’ll take 99.”

That’s an encouragement to me as I parent and to me as a child of the King. Tomorrow morning I will probably be the mom who holds her tears until I reach the car and then the flood gates will open. I’ll be the mom who orders a huge coffee to drink away my sorrows. I’ll pick her up at the end of the day and cry all over again with relief that she’s back in my arms and pride that she did it. But tomorrow I hope I can also be thankful for her opportunities. I hope I can be proud of her for starting her journey. I hope that after letting her take her first step, we are still there to help her take her last 99. I hope she can see that we can’t contain our joy for her. Welcome to Kindergarten, Adelynn. You’re going to be awesome.

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