True confession…. this letter may be more for me than it is for you. Maybe, just maybe, someday you will look back when you are sending your own children off for school and realize that this motherhood gig is a little more than meets the eye. (And on the off chance you do wonder what dear ol’e mom thought as you started school each year, don’t worry about keeping track of this letters as I have printed a copy and put it in your baby books just in case you ever want to read it!)
Today you return to school. Summer came and went in a blink of an eye. We had the “summer to do” list printed and I feel we crossed off a lot of those items. But do I wish we had more time? Of course. Do I wonder “did I do enough this summer?” Yes. Do I hope you recall all of the fun we had, laughter shared, countless days of enjoyment? Absolutely. Do I hope that you valued the camps you attended and the investment made for you to attend such programs? Definitely. Do I hope that the moments of frustration I had didn’t stick with you more than joyful ones? You know it. Do I pray that the hours we spent reading and working on workbooks helped to prevent the “summer slide”? I sure hope!
I have a lot of questions running through my head, but the question that keeps coming back the most today is the one that was on your new teacher forms. It was just a simple question. “What do you hope for your child this year?” Seems innocent enough. I figured I could wrap up those forms in a blink of an eye when they came. I had the shot records ready, the emergency contacts all plugged in, I knew your allergies and last date of doctors visits. But that one question was a doozy. What do I hope for you this year? What do I hope!? I am not one to leave a blank line empty so I thought on that question a lot. And decided that I have of answers for that question.
I want you to become better spellers. To read harder books. To have confidence in math. To explore the sciences with interest. To enjoy learning new musical aspects and to have fun expressing yourself in art class. I want you to have the best year you have ever had and to love school, have friends, have fun, always have a buddy to sit with at the lunch table, a friend waiting for you at recess and to maximize this year to the fullest. I want your teachers to see how smart and creative you are and provide an environment for you to thrive. I want you to push yourself to do your best even when less than your best would be acceptable.
I want you to believe in your dreams and know that you can make a difference in the world. I want you to reach out to the new kid in class and introduce yourself and make them feel welcome. I want you to be inclusive of others. To help those who struggle. To ask for help when you struggle. To make new friends while strengthening the friendships you already have. To be kind. I want others to be kind to you. I want to shelter you from any unkind words or bullies. I want to shield you from the realities of growing up and “mean girls” (and make sure you don’t become one of them!) I want you to be grateful for all of the blessings you have and to not use such blessings as items to brag about. I want you to be polite, to use manners, to appreciate people’s differences and understand that everyone has different strengths, abilities, talents and passions.
I want you to push yourself to try new things. To be brave when you don’t feel it. To allow yourself to fail sometimes and accept that no one is perfect. I want you to be vocal enough to stand up for yourself yet mature enough to hear others speak as well.
I want you to stay true to yourself. To not feel the pressures of fitting in or doing the “cool” thing even when you know that isn’t the right thing for you. I want you to hold your values close and allow them to help you make decisions. I hope that you don’t fall into the trap of gossipping about others (because you know they will gossip about you sometime too and that hurts!) I want to protect you from the world of drugs, of older boys who pressure you to make decisions you regret, to hide you from the world that expects you to grow up so quickly and propels you into the world of adulthood so fast. I want to keep you safe from danger.
I want you to have a smile on your face and a spring in your step, but when you’re feeling a little less springy – to be OK shedding a tear and reaching out for help and knowing that is a very brave thing to do. And I want for when you see that look of sadness on someone else’s face, to be the friend they reach out to for support and help.
I want you to know how proud I am to be your mom. How nothing you can do could change the fact that I love you and think you’re the best. I want you to trust that I’m in your corner, always, cheering for your success and sharing in your disappointments.
But how do I say that on the two provided lines on the form?
I simply said “This year, I want my daughters to know they are loved, to feel loved, to love others and be true to themselves. Always.”
For girls, with love, all of the above is possible. When you know you are loved, you love yourself, and you love others – the rest is much easier. So today, as the school bell rings and you enter in – know that you are loved. More than anything. I pray your hearts are full to receive the love of others while you share it with those around you. Here’s to another great year!
I love you!
Seems like only yesterday you were running around in my heels. Time surely flies.
I’m so proud of the footsteps you are taking and am excited to see where your journey continues.
Blog Readers: There is power in numbers so while I wrote this today, I know many of you reading could have written your own entry as you are carrying these questions, hopes and goals in your own heart too. I wish you a school year full of love and ask you to join me in loving our children – ourselves – and those around us the best we can. Because with love, all things are possible.