This is going to be a hard one for Mommy, so bear with me- okay? It feels like all of our years at home together have been practice for this very moment and yet, it feels like just yesterday that we met each other for the very first time. Each of us completely overwhelmed by our surroundings, neither of us with any idea what to do in that very first moment but cry and hold onto each other for dear life.
That's kind of how I feel about tomorrow. While I want to hold onto each of you for dear life, I know that I need to step back and let go- to give each of you the space you need to spread your little wings and do all of the great things that deep down I know you are destined for. But it's not easy. In fact, it makes me wonder how parents let their kids do even bigger things at all- like drive cars and head off to college. Here I sit, barely able to send you off to elementary school but thanking my lucky stars that we're not there yet.
Earlier this morning in church, Father asked that all students and teachers heading back to school this week, to please stand. I nudged each of you to stand up and placed my shaky hands on your shoulders to receive our community's blessing. As I swallowed back tears, we prayed over you and the teachers who will love you as their own in the coming months. We prayed for guidance, for safekeeping, for wisdom and for grace.
So much grace.
I found myself praying extra hard that everyone you meet this year will see you both as your Daddy and I do. As kind, smart, funny and loving gentlemen. As companions and as teammates and yet as individuals who would go above and beyond for their neighbor. Most of all, as a friend.
You both felt so small beneath my hands as you fidgeted and swayed and poked at each others' ribs, each of you trying to make the other laugh under held breath. I couldn't help but let out a small laugh- anything to keep from bursting into the tears and being That Mom in the church pew.
Tomorrow you will begin the next new adventure- it will be another chapter in the book of the progression of your little lives but a huge chapter nonetheless. One of you will head off to Kindergarten and the other, Pre-Kindergarten. There's so many things I want to tell you. Things that I want to make sure you know and although I know I've said them hundreds of times before, I can't help but repeat myself in these final few moments before I set you free.
After all, that's what moms do. Speak when no one is listening and repeat themselves forty-seven thousand times a day. But it's all for good reason, I promise you.
Carter, my oldest baby, keep an eye out for your little brother. When he looks scared or overwhelmed, it's because he is. Remember, you are home to him. Be there for him and remind him that school is fun and amazing and that he'll make so many new friends. You are such a great big brother and while I know this often means we put so much extra pressure on you, know that we couldn't be more proud of you and the awesome gentleman you've become. Be yourself, shine your light brightly and you will rock Kindergarten. Believe in yourself- because we do.
Maclane, my sweet middle little, you've got this little buddy! I know it seems as if a life outside of your big brother Carter doesn't exist quite yet, but I promise you- you are your own little person and you will make your own friends and build your own arts and crafts and you will come home with your own stories about your time away at school and I cannot wait to hear every single one of them. Be strong and believe in yourself- because we do.
To the both of you- above all else, be kind. Be kind to one another and to your new classmates and teachers. Put on those big smiles I love so much and make new friends. You are both so loved, so lovable and so loving that I know this will come easy for you. It's hard to be the new kid in a new place. If you see a new friend with tears in their eyes, be there for them. Tell them your name and invite them to play a game with you.
Unfortunately, not everyone will want to be your friend and that's okay, too. Be kind to them anyway. Be brave and have patience as you navigate your new surroundings. Great things take time, after all, neither of you popped out being the delightful, creative, incredible human beings you are today.
When you are happy, when you feel excited and especially when you feel nervous and overwhelmed, remember how much you are loved. No one in this whole world loves you more than your Daddy, Collins and I do-
Stand up for yourselves and dare to be different. After all, different is what makes each of you, well, you! Be proud of your differences and know that we're so proud of you, too.
What might feel new and unfamiliar today will feel like right where you belong in just a few weeks. Give yourself grace. Give me some, too. This is all a little new for everyone and if you're patient with me, I promise we'll have this new routine figured out in no time.
In the mean time, I promise I'll be here waiting with extra hugs, warm chocolate chip cookies and all the time in the world to listen to your stories, take in your worries and help you through them as we work out the kinks that will no doubt come our way.
Even though you're heading off to school without me, we're in this together.
You lunches are packed, your book bags are waiting by the door. I've laid your uniforms out and I'm about to head upstairs and read you both two very special books on this very special night.
Chances are neither of you will remember this First Day like I will. I will remember it just as clearly as I remember sniffing your fresh newborn skin for the very first time. I will tuck our hugs and our "see you later's" away in the same corner of my heart as I did your first steps, your first words and your first boo-boos. While this day may mean no more to you than any other Monday, this will be a day that I replay in my head for as long as I live.
Happy First Day to my first and second babies. We love you more than carrots and we cannot wait to squeeze your guts at pick-up.