I've been thinking about Tralee's first day of school over the last few weeks, and knew I wanted to start some kind of first day tradition. Nothing over-the-top, just something special to commemorate Tralee starting a new school year. I came up with the idea of picking out a special book, and writing her a letter on the inside cover as well as the bullet points of the Father's Blessing Jim gave her. The plan is to give her the new book on First-Day-Eve, and read the letter, blessing, and book together. When she leaves home she'll have a nice little collection of books and love letters from her parents. The book I picked for kindergarten was The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. I gave it to Tralee tonight, and after everything was read, I drew a red heart with a permanent marker on Tralee's palm and kissed it. She did the same to mine. It was a lovely evening filled with love and excitement! Below is Tralee's first First-Day-of-School letter.
It seems like I’ve been ignoring this moment from the very first time someone said to me, “Before you know it, she’ll be heading off to kindergarten.” When I heard this, you were just a few days old. I was holding you--pink soft you--beholding the best thing I ever created, and I couldn’t believe the tiny bundle sleeping in my arms would someday grow to be five. I couldn’t imagine my baby girl crossing the last giant milestone from babyhood into a world unknown. Yet here we are, just days away from your first day of kindergarten, and it seems like just yesterday you were cooing in my arms. Making those sweet dove-like noises while you slept (you still do this sometimes).
There’s only one page left in your baby-book for me to report on. The page says, “First Day of School.” I’ve spent so long ignoring the very idea of this page, that I’ve never -- until now -- thought about what it might look like when it’s all filled in. I’m still not sure how your first day will go exactly as there are many emotions (excitement and nervousness being a few) brewing inside us both. I DO know the picture I glue in will be of you with an adorable smile on your face. You’ll be in a pink outfit--no doubt--that you choose with little to no help from me (as hard as I tried to push my outfits at you). You’ll be wearing the kitty backpack you picked out all by yourself, and when you do that cute look that you do, I’ll still see your baby face cooing in a blanket in my arms. But you’re not a baby anymore, you’re such a big girl now! A smart, strong, kind, loving, sensitive girl who is so polite, loving, and generous. You’re so willing and eager to share your gifts of imagination, sensitivity, and playfulness with everyone, that I know you’ll make friends. I know you’ll be nice to everyone, and I know your sweetness will radiate. I’m so proud of you!
You know that game we like to play, where you are the butterfly, and I’m trying to catch you? You’re so good at that game, always dashing just out of my grasp. But I still catch you sometimes, and when I do, remember what I say? “I finally caught you! And I’m never letting you go!!” That’s what it’ll be like on your first day. I won’t want to let go of your hand (and maybe you won’t want me to). Just like in the game you’ll find your way to fly, fly on your own away from the familiar. Fly into a new adventure, and you won’t just fly, you’ll soar! While your soaring, learning many new things from your teachers and peers, know that I’ll be waiting for you to fly back into my arms. Even while you’re soaring, know that a piece of my heart is with you. I gave it to you the day you were born, those five-and-half years ago! It’s nuzzled right inside your heart. So, if you’re ever feeling a little sad or scared soaring out there on your own, and wishing you could fly home, remember that a little piece of home is right inside to your heart, sending you love.
Tralee you have such a good, kind, sensitive heart, and an eager seeking mind. You always want to do the right thing, and be kind to those around you. If you keep this up, there’s no telling where you’ll soar off to. My sweet, artistic, imaginative, kind, glorious butterfly, I know you’ll reach the stars!
No matter what happens on your first day of school, or this entire year, OR for your ENTIRE life, I want you to know that no matter what, your mommy loves you so so so so much! I know if I had it my way, you’d still be a little baby sleeping in my arms, and I’d NEVER want to let you go. That would be wrong, because you’d never experience all the adventures waiting for you -- pleasant and sour. Each adventure will mold you into a better version of yourself. So, get ready little butterfly, because you’re about to take the flight of your life, and I’m so excited I get to tag along for some of the ride!
I La-la-la-la-LOVE YOU!!!!!!! More than you’ll ever know!
Your Mommy, Leslie Jean Jacobs