Well, we finally made it. Abbie starts Kindergarten tomorrow, and our entire family is so excited. She’s ready. We’re ready. It’s time to start the big adventure of school, and we just can’t wait.
I feel like Kindergarten is one of those milestones you don’t forget as a parent. Of course, I can’t remember my own first day of Kindergarten at all, but I doubt I’ll forget this. For the first time, she’ll go off to a school we didn’t select (other than by where we live) and have a teacher we didn’t meet and choose ahead of time. It felt odd to be the parent at open house rather than the student, after years and years of being the student. But here we are.
So to my girl, as you start kindergarten:
I know we’ve been talking about this for months. You are so excited, and I can see in your eyes just how ready you are. I know you’ll adapt, and grow even more into the person you’re eventually going to be. But before you start, I just want to tell you a few things.
Be kind. I have told you this every day from the moment you started preschool, and I mean it more than ever with you starting Kindergarten. Be a friend, and try to play with everyone. The kid sitting by the wall at recess that no one else is playing with? Ask them to play, ask them to draw, sit next to them at lunch. You never know who needs a smile and girl, you are amazing at handing them out. Sometimes other kids are shy, or things are hard for them in school or at home. No one regrets being kind.
Know that not everyone will be your friend, and that’s okay. You will find your friends, the ones that build you up and understand you. You may find them right away, or it may take many years for you to find them. It is okay to not be friends with everyone, but it is not okay to put anyone down or exclude them. Always remember to reach out, even if people don’t seem to want you to.
Work hard in school. I don’t care if you get the best grades, or are the teacher’s favorite, or win awards. I care that you try your best. I care that you choose to value school, that you open your mind to new things, and you learn about them before making up your mind about them. I care that you nourish your own thoughts, feelings, and interests. I care that you learn all you can about the world so you can find what you love and pursue it.
Listen to your teacher. We all know you aren’t always the best listener at home. I know it’s hard sometimes – but I do need you to listen at school. There are rules for a reason, it’s so important for you to help your teacher as much as you can – after all, she’s there to teach you plus all the other kids! Be a helper in the classroom, and follow directions. And know that if you’re being a brat – I’m going to find out… and I’m going to believe your teacher. So don’t be a brat, okay?
Be brave. School isn’t always going to be easy. Sometimes it will be hard. Sometimes you won’t be able to do things, and sometimes you’ll get frustrated. There will be times things don’t go your way, and that’s just part of school – and part of life. Learning to deal with all of that is essential. Sometimes it’ll be frustrating, and sometimes it will be scary. But I promise you – it will all be okay.
Daddy and I are going to ask you how school was pretty much every day. Give us at least something okay? “I don’t know” and “I don’t remember” aren’t our favorite things to hear about your day.
Tomorrow starts your official journey of school – one in which you’ll learn things you can’t dream about now. Before we know it, you’ll be reading to us, reading chapter books, and reading to your little sister. We’ll blink and you’ll be telling us about the science fair or a field trip you’re taking with your class. Long division will pop up long before we’re ready to help you with it, and I hope you take it all in stride. Know that this is your education, and while there are things you must learn, part of the point of it is to teach you how to find what you want to learn.
I know you’ll march right in there tomorrow and take it on, just as you’ve done with everything you’ve put your mind to since you were born. I know you’ll walk in there my sweet, funny, headstrong 5-year-old – and my Kindergartener.
I love you so much, my girl, and I can’t wait to see where you go from here.