To my Vivianne,
We celebrated tonight, the day before you start kindergarten, with cake and cupcakes decorated by none other than you and your little sister. You are now sound asleep in your bed. Your 1st day of school outfit—Your flower jean skirt with matching T-shirt and silver sparkly shoes, complete with the coordinating fuchsia knit hat…is all laid out in your room ready for the big day!
A few weeks ago, while we were shopping for school clothes, you explained to me, "This is what the kindergarteners wear, Mom.” As you pulled that pink hat on your head and looked up at me with your big proud eyes, feeling so grow-up, “Please, Mom, can we buy it??”
“Ummm…Are you sure, you’ll wear it?” was all I could manage to say as I looked down at you under this bright colored hat that only seemed to add years to your young face.
“Yes. I will, promise. Really, Mom, I will,” you assured me, all the while leaving the hat propped on your head as if it was already yours.
I watch your eyes scan the walls of clothes as you walk through the store. You stop in front of the accessory aisle, your little fingers running over the bows, barrettes, and colorful patterned tights. You don’t tell me that you want them, but I know. You’ve liked these things from the time you were old enough to dig in my jewelry box. You loved to look and hold my necklaces and bracelets, trinkets and treasures.
“Look at this! Isn’t this cute?” I say holding up a short-sleeved top with a colorful flower on the front.
”Ummmm… too preschoolish.” You say matter-of-factly and continue to gaze, again, at the multitude of headbands and clips.
What??? Preschoolish? Oh, obviously, as I try not to laugh, as you are SO beyond preschool at this point, right? Gosh, my bad, it’s been noted. I carefully hang the little flower shirt back on the rack, just a little bit sad. Not because I really loved the t-shirt, but because it is evident, yet again, that my little girl is growing up. You have your own style, your own thoughts…
The colorful brown butterfly backpack you’ve chosen seems to swallow you whole. Accentuating how little you look in my eyes. I try and picture you getting on and off the bus with that big ol’ backpack. It doesn’t see real, my little girl going to Kindergarten. There are days when I swear you’ve been with me forever and then there are days like today when I feel like you were born yesterday. How did we get to this point? I remember when you wouldn’t even consider leaving my side, not even to go to Dad. You were so shy and such a mommy’s girl. You would just sit back and watch the other children, observing their actions, biding your time until you felt comfortable enough to join in. I would watch from across the way trying my hardest to “will” you with my mind to just go and ask the other kids to play. Oh, how I wanted you to be able to make friends, have friends, be a friend. And then, one day, it was like all of a sudden you came out of your shell and my introvert became and extrovert. You would literally talk to anyone who would listen…your confidence took off and that was that. You made friends :-) Lots of friends.
I’ve pretty much always told you from the time that you were old enough to understand that to me you are my sunshine, always have been, always will be. I think you were born smiling. You have always been such a happy girl. The song, “You are my Sunshine” is the song we sing together. I’ve kind of tagged it as ‘your song’. So when I found a necklace with that phrase engraved on it, I bought it at once and have held onto it until this very special day. When I gave it to you tonight, your eyes lit up like the 4th of July. “I love it!” you said as you slipped it over your head. I told you that you could wear it tomorrow, or put it in your backpack so that if you ever felt scared or lonely, you could look at it and know that I was thinking of you. You gave me the biggest hug and thanked me and told me how much you loved it again. As I type this note, I can’t help but tear up because I know that tomorrow is such a big day for you, one that you may or may not remember, but one that I will get to be a part of it, and for that I am grateful.
You are so excited for Kindergarten. You have been asking to go all summer long. You have packed and repacked your backpack too many times to count. You are ready. I, on the other hand, am an emotional wreck. I have looked through so many pictures of you and us tonight as I tried to figure out which ones if any to include in this letter and it brought back so many memories. Gosh, why is it that during all the really big moments you go through, I still see you as that barely 2 foot tall little girl, with just blonde whisps for hair, hanging out in my shadow…I can’t believe this day has come that you are finally going to school. I am so proud of you, Vivianne. You are a kind and thoughtful girl with an infectious laugh and happy personality.I wish the very best for you as you begin to find “your” way in this great big world. Know that I will always be here to hold your hand every step of the way! Your future is as bright as the sun. It’s your time to shine, girl. Go gett’em!