My sweet girl. I’ve been thinking back to this day, 6 years ago…your first day of Kindergarten. I can remember your excitement, your slightly nervous but giddy energy, how we shopped for your first day of school outfit, how you could hardly wait to wear those sparkly Lelli Kelly shoes. I can remember that, until this point, you were often shy and slow to warm up to new situations. But this day? You announced that you’d like me to drop you at the front door of the school…you were feeling like a ‘big girl’ and ‘I know how to get to Miss Morris’ classroom and can do it all by myself’. I remember you somehow letting me know that it would be easier for you to go right into the classroom without us having to say good-bye to each other right there. So I watched you walk through those doors, turn and wave good-bye to me, and I went to the car and cried. Yes, I really did….my little girl was growing up.
So, this week, this moment…has been coming for awhile now. Thinking back, as soon as you neared the end of 4th grade, I remember starting to feel a bit of panic…realizing that there was only one year left for you in elementary school. Only one year left before middle school. How in the world could you be getting old enough, mature enough, tall enough, ready enough….for middle school? I won’t lie. The thought made my heart race. As a parent, you become so involved in one phase of your child’s life, that it’s sometimes hard to imagine what that next phase could possibly look like. I felt like someone was pushing on the accelerator of your childhood….and I needed to hit the brakes instead. Just happening too fast.
But you know what? Over this past year, I came to realize that *I* was the only one that really needed to be ready. Because slowly, gradually….you started showing me that you were already there….ready for that next phase. And I was the one that needed to catch up. You were ready for new challenges, ready for new experiences, ready for a new building & teachers, ready to meet new friends, ready to have a locker….just ready, ready, ready. You were already there. And when I wrapped my heart around it, I just couldn’t have been more proud.
So as you bravely move forward to this next phase, and as you slowly go from my little girl into a young lady, there are a few things that I hope for you:
I hope that you will stand confident in who YOU are as a person. You don’t need to be like anyone else. Be you and embrace it. YOU will always be enough.
I hope that you will always stand up for what is right. The way you already have. The way you helped speak up for others when they were trying to find their own voice.
I hope you will remember that I am always here. And so is your dad. And so is your village of family and friends that love and surround you.
I hope you will remember that, when things feel overwhelming, scary or just too much….that you will turn to your faith and remember that there is always a love and power bigger than all of us.
I hope that you will be inspired, and challenged, and embrace all of the new things that will come into your life.
I hope that, even though you are taller than me already, you will always lean your head on my shoulder and want that hug. I will always be here….ready for a hug or ready to just sit down and listen.
And you know what? I love that you asked for your own photo shoot to remember this milestone and graduation. I love that you want the same for 8th grade and your senior year. I love the things that you wanted to remember for this phase.
I will always remember the day we played hooky from school together and the time we spent…shopping, lunching, getting our smoothies and spending quiet time down on the water.
I will remember this warm evening and how fun it was to prepare for your session. And I will remember looking through my view finder and having a moment….where I could hardly believe that my little girl was looking so grown up. And happy. And you know what else? Ready. So ready.
I love that when you saw some younger kids playing in the sand nearby, that you still really wanted to do that exact same thing. :)
And when I asked you how you felt about graduating 5th grade??
Another sign that you were ready. :) And I love that you just wanted to have fun during our shoot as well.
I love that, before our shoot, you told me that you wanted to bring some things that were the most important to you right now…and told me that “Swimming and synchro are my life.”
I love you, my sweet girl. You are ready…and I’m ready to watch you soar.