The day is here. When you came into our lives a little over four years ago, I knew there would be milestones like this one: your first steps. Your first crush. Your first dance.
But for right now, right here, this one is big. You’ve been talking about it for months. You’ve had your backpack, your lunch bag, and your first-day outfit ready to go. You’ve toured the classroom. You know where the playground is. Yesterday you even sat at your desk and met your classmates.
And as this new chapter starts for you, a new one starts for your mom and I, as well. We’re sending our baby out on the long road towards independence. Oh, this isn’t our first rodeo. We’ve had the “first day” with your three older brothers. And believe me: those days were tough as well. I remember walking away from their classrooms with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. But there’s something about my daughter…something about sending off my little girl into the scary unknown that is simply different.
Last night as I prayed for you, I prayed a few very specific things that I want this year to hold for you:
I want you to love learning. I hope you’ll be fascinated by the discovery of new ideas and new concepts. I hope that your classroom is filled with fun books, creative activity, and great experiments. I want your teachers to help you pick up new subjects that you will talk about and study about.
I want you to love people. The kid that plays by herself on the playground? I want you to notice her and befriend her. The little boy that gets picked on? Stand up for him. And while you’re serving your classmates, serve your teachers. Be obedient and helpful to them. Make their job a joy and not a burden. Say hello to the custodian and hug the lunch lady. Let that room-filling smile shine often on those that meet you.
I want you to find friendships. In our crazy-mobile society, the chances of you meeting someone in kindergarten that you still know in college is slim. But I want that for you. I want you to have one little girl that you can giggle with, play with, grow up with, and become an adult with. Yes, I want you to love lots of people, but I want you to have a few close, trusted friends that you can call your own.
I want you to know Jesus. You know a lot about him. But you don’t know him. Yet. I pray that this year will help open your eyes. I pray that he would become more real to you. When you are scared, I pray he’ll be your comfort. When you’re lonely, I want him to be your first friend. May kindergarten be a catalyst for you to realize that while your mom and dad and teachers and friends may let you down, Jesus never will.
I want you to be an influencer. Whether it’s learning or people or friendships, I pray that you will be one that influences others, not one who is easily influenced. Anybody can follow the crowd at any time. I’m not telling you to “be yourself” or “blaze your own path.” That’s as silly and empty as telling you to just blend in. Rather, discover how Jesus is working in you, and follow him above all others. As you do that, there will be a sweet aroma that causes others to see him through you.
Baby girl, the next 180 days are going to be an adventure like you’ve never known. Enjoy it. Have fun with it. Build towers of blocks and master the monkey bars and try the rectangle pizza in the cafeteria. Watch a seed sprout in a cup and be a great line leader and savor that early afternoon nap while it’s still offered. Live this year to the fullest, explore lots of fun things, and be humble and kind to those around you.
And this afternoon when we’re back together, forgive me if I hold on to you just a little bit tighter.
I love you, sweetheart.