When you were born, I knew I was going to have to go back to my full time job when you turned 3 months old. It broke my heart, but it needed to happen. So, we scrambled around trying to find childcare that was not only affordable to us but that we felt great about. We didn't want to just send you anywhere. It was important for us to really find the right fit. Someone that would really show you love, patience, and kindness. Someone that would really be there for you in the hours that we could not be. There came a point in the search that I felt maybe we weren't going to find the right fit. Everything seemed to be either too far away or too expensive to make it worth it for us financially. That's when I started to think that maybe I should just quit my teaching job and be a full time stay at home mama. I knew it was important, though, for us to have my income. Plus, I really loved my job and looked forward to going there every day. I never thought I was really cut out for the stay at home mom thing anyway - and boy did I feel guilty for thinking that!! In any case - we forged on with our search for the right daycare provider and just in the nick of time, my mother-in-law told us that a spot opened up at Miss D's house. I immediately wanted to know everything about this Miss D. I found out out that she is the step daughter of a woman from our church and that she lives right down the street! As soon as I met her, I knew it was the perfect fit!
So, at 3 months old, I left you in her care and we have counted our lucky stars every day since. She has definitely been like another mother to you. She has gone above and beyond in the amount of love, patience and kindness she has given you. She has given you bottles and changed endless diapers. She has rocked you to sleep and wiped away your tears. She watched as you learned to crawl and then as you learned to walk. She cheered you on as we all worked through the potty training process. She has comforted you when you've been sad and celebrated with you when you've mastered new skills. She has sat next to you at her kitchen table as you worked on learning your colors, letters and numbers. She has taken you on countless field trips to wonderful places and would send your mama pictures to let me know how much fun you were having. What an amazing blessing she has been in our lives.
....and now, here we are on your very first day of Preschool! You woke up this morning filled with the same excitement as Christmas morning. "I'm going to school today, Mommy!!" You jumped out of bed ready to immediately put on the outfit that we had picked out together the night before, complete with your new pink patent leather ballet flats. You didn't even mind one bit when I asked you to come outside on the front porch to take pictures. "Sure mommy! Let's go!" :)
Daddy went to work a little late this morning so we could all go to your new school together. You absolutely loved that. When we arrived at school, you immediately strapped on your new pink, light-up princess backpack and walked with the sweetest pep in your step all the way to the door. We signed you in, hung your backpack on your special hook and then went up to meet your teachers in the gym area. You gave each of us a big hug and kiss and sent us on your way. You were so ready for this.
I held back my tears as your daddy, brother and I walked back to the car. The whole thing just felt so momentous to me. I couldn't stop thinking about how grown up and confident you looked as you ventured into this new place filled with new people and I suddenly felt myself realizing how much I wish I could be more like you sometimes. You look at the world in the such a beautiful and wondrous way. You live in the moment. You are not yet filled with the worries and anxieties that will eventually creep in as you grow older. Instead, you are filled with magic and amazement at the world around you.
I continued to hold back those tears for most of the morning. I dropped your daddy off at work and Elijah and I sat outside of a coffee shop while we shared a bagel and I sipped on a latte. It was a beautiful morning and I couldn't stop thinking about you. I smiled at the thought of how much fun you were going to have on your new adventure. I prayed that you were having a great first day and that you were already making new friends. I fought the urge to just go back and pick you up ;)
As Elijah and I were driving home from the coffee shop, I peered into my rear-view mirror and caught a glimpse of him (thanks to the mirror hanging above him) clapping and grinning from ear to ear. That is when it finally hit me. I just felt this huge rush of gratitude wash over me in that moment. I am so incredibly blessed to be able to call you and your brother my own. The amount of pride I feel about getting to be your mama is impossible to measure.
So, my sweet girl...my wish for you today, on your very first day of school, is that you'll never lose your desire to learn and explore. The possibilities are endless and there are adventures around ever corner. I hope that you will always know how loved you are and how much you have to offer the world. I hope you will always stay true to yourself and treat others with kindness, love and respect. Dream big and work hard. I know there are amazing things in store for you. And always remember, I will be here with my arms stretched open wide whenever you need me. I will always want to hold you close, but I promise to do everything I can to give you wings to fly.
All my heart,