In a few short weeks you will be in kindergarten. I don't know how this happened. It was just yesterday you were born, wasn't it?
You completely swept me off my feet in moments. I was blissfully in love with you the second I saw your face. And the love affair has never stopped.
You gave me a run for my money when you turned a year old, forcing me many days to tap out with dad and spend time in my closet, either eating chocolate and crying or both. You wanted what you wanted and that was it. No amount of reasoning would pacify you. And I loved you too much to let you become a monster. So we had at it daily.
The whole of year one to two with you is, frankly, a blank. You were exhausting and terrifying- throwing yourself headlong into anything and everything, you had no fear and we were afraid you never would. I spent days following you, saving you from one catastrophe or another, and nights lying awake worrying that you would never, ever develop common sense. Ever. Like for real, Sam. One day when I am old and gray I will straight up make you follow me around while I ram my hover round into various objects.
But you made me laugh, every single day. Which kept me from going crazy.
Then, you learned to talk. Your frustrations melted into nothing as you began to communicate. Your tantrums and screams and daredevil antics dovetailed into words and actions and love. You became a snuggler, a kisser, a hugger. To me and to strangers. (It was never weird. At all. Ahem.)
You began to show the density and breadth of your heart and your soul when you turned three. The sweetness you had hidden came to the light, and every person you met fell in love with you. One look from your big brown eyes and they were hooked. You became compassionate, and kind. You gave others your words in abundance and your love in spades. I watched you unfold and knew all of those night of lying awake, praying...somewhere God was listening. And because of the chaos, the calm was so much sweeter.
You turned four on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. We wrote your name in the sand and had cupcakes at a table with a crisp white tablecloth. Everyone on the boat knew your name, and everyone loved you. You high fived and hugged your way through the whole seven days of the cruise, believing without doubt that every passenger was there to celebrate you. I never told you different. And never will.
But it has. Because now you are five. Halfway through your fifth year. And you have become the heart and soul of our family. You are a feeler, picking up on emotions and knowing just when I need a hug. You battle endlessly with your sister, but are the first to defend her if she should get into trouble. You love your family and your friends with a quiet loyalty that speaks to the depth of your God given compassion. And just like your sister, you are endlessly kind.
Life with you, my sweet and talkative little man, is amazing. I see the world through your eyes as you speak. You convey emotions behind your scope in your own five year old words. You don't like to sit still but you will lay next to me for hours if I am not feeling well. You are all heart.
And soon I will walk you to the kindergarten doors.
As you pass the threshold, a new world is waiting. A world of learning and friendships and responsibility. You will maybe cry for me...and I won't be there. You will write your name in increasingly better penmanship. You will put sounds together. You will begin the process of reading.
And it's as it should be. The whole process of parenting is like flying a kite- a constant reeling in and letting go. You will learn so many things, not just about the world, but about yourself. You will develop strengths and define your interests.
My influence will be less, and your reliance on yourself will increase tenfold.
It's not a day I look forward to. I know you will do amazingly well. You are equipped with the character you need to make friends and learn. I know because we have worked on those things together for five years.
And so, in a few short weeks you will be mine still, but you will also belong more to the world. It will open to you as you learn. With every new skill and every new task you tackle, you will be drawn farther into your own strength.
But oh how I will miss you. Your little voice in my ear. Your arms around my neck. Your presence as I walk the grocery store aisles, asking for Oreos and Doritos and twinkies while I load the cart with apples and carrots and milk.
The house will be quiet and still. But my heart will be full. Because you, my lovely sweet boy, have given me enough love to fill me up.
My love will be with you, every step you take. It goes with you as you cut and color, play and laugh. It will be there, in your own heart if you cry. It will be there because there is nowhere on this earth or no situation you will face that my prayers are not already there.
Go out into the world, into your classroom, and into the life that is waiting for you. I will be here when you return, waiting and loving you, forever.