When I was pregnant with you, you hurt the inside of my ribs. Like you installed a punching bag just under my ribcage and just went at it while I was on the couch. You moved so much more than your brother, I knew we were in for it. You never stopped. Always on the move. Ready for anything. We thought you’d never come out of me, you were so huge. We didn’t know it was 10 lbs 11 ounces huge, but they still were able to get you out. You came along. Our world changed forever.
I couldn’t put you on solid foods. It was a mental block that once I put you on solids, the whole baby thing would fly by and all of a sudden you’d be in Kindergarten. Well, let’s just say I was 100% correct on this one. We started solids around 8 months. You liked them. You came along.
I sold your crib on Craigslist before I thought about how you would sleep without it. We got a toddler bed and set it all up that night. It was then that we realized how funny your sleep positioning was going to get without walls. I still find you in all different places in your room at night when I go in to check on you. on the floor, half off the bed, next to a row of dolls next to your dollhouse. You were all set with the non-crib sleeping before I was okay with it. I came along.
When you were 18 months old, you didn’t talk a lot. We were worried because your brother was such a talker. But, the pediatrician said your words would come. You said, “Hi Baby” on repeat so much that we worried that’s all you would ever say. But you didn’t. You came along.
When you were three, you became a night owl. We could hear you singing often until 9:30 pm. Your room would look like preschool-meets-frat party. You would often fall asleep on your floor in costume. One time you had socks on your hands and fell asleep like that. In the summer. In a room without air conditioning. We thought you’d never have a normal bedtime again. But you did, eventually in preschool. You came along.
I’ve never met anyone quite like you. You don’t worry, scare or get angry easily. You don’t complain or whine or demand a lot of attention like youngest children usually do (your mother included). You somehow managed to learn to read before Kindergarten without your Dad and I even knowing it. And you never, ever, ever care about what someone thinks of you. Even your brother, the person I think you look up to most. You march to your own beat, make your own music, sing your own song. Some of the best days I spend with you are just hearing you in the other room pretending or singing or asking me a question that shows me how smart you’ve become, “Mom, what does unsuspecting mean?”
Your laugh. If I could bottle it up, I would. And I would keep it all for me when I get old and want to hear it again. Your laugh is the epicenter of family dinner and backseat conversations. We all light up when we hear you laugh. Your preschool report card even remarked on your laugh. It’s that electric.
But Kindergarten? Why Kindergarten? Why are you going to take away all these beautiful memories from me by growing up and becoming a big kid? Why do I have to watch you walk away with a backpack of confidence that I am real freaking sure I never had as a child? Why can’t you be a not-talking-enough-up-all-night-dancing-singing talisman I hold with me all day long? Why and when did you become a person instead of my baby? Why did you learn so much and absorb so much and take so much out of us as you grew?
Because, just as with all things, when you were ready, you came along.
I do proclaim here and now that there was never a girl I know more ready for the leap to kindergarten. Whether it’s been watching your brother, just 21 months older than you walk the paces or just because that little soul inside of you is meant to keep-up-whether-you-are-old-enough-or-not. You are ready. Like really ready. Like backpacked already packed with supplies ready.
So where does that leave us? We just grow you up and then release you because that’s just what happens when kids turn five? What’s next– First grade? Second? THIRD?
A wise mother once said to me, “they do not belong to us, they belong to the world” when she saw her fifth (!) child off to kindergarten. And indeed you never have belonged to me. You were always more wild and free and boisterous and precocious than I thought I could ever be lucky enough to parent. You were sometimes more of a challenge and mystery than I thought that I could handle. But you were always a sparkly, shiny, you.
Today, I brushed your hair (you were screaming but still, bear with me) and I told you that sometimes God puts sparkle into girls’ eyes to help them light up the world. I made it up in the most wise Mommy-folklore moments but when it comes to you, I think it’s true. Your eyes, your laugh, your little Brooklyn accent have brought more to me as a person than I ever thought I deserved.
So, as the day approaches where you take a brief and daily departure from the little part in my heart where your babyhood and toddlerhood grew, remember this:
You are as beautiful as the words you use, the hands you work with and the relationships you build. Have confidence in those things and this milestone (like all the ones before them), will come along just perfectly.