Monday, August 11, 2014

Brantley Goes to Kindergarten

I wanted to write a really eloquent blog post for today.  A letter to my girl, or the mix of feelings I have about sending my biggest girl to Kindergarten today.  But I am so caught up in emotion that I can barely get my thoughts into words at all, much less have them make sense or sound pretty.  So bear with me, as my words are just flowing straight from my heart today.

I heard a quote by Jackie Kennedy Onassis a long time ago that has shaped and molded the way I feel about being a mother.  "If you bungle raising your children," she says, "I don't think whatever else you do matters very much."  It has stuck with me for many years, and everytime I come to a crossroads in parental decision making, or decision making in life in general, putting my job as a mother first, and putting the job of raising my children first has always lead me to make the best choices for my family.

I have been a stay at home mom now for over three years.  They have been the best and the hardest years of my life, but the days I have spent at home with my children, being the mother I have always wanted to be, have been magical.  To be home with them, interacting, playing, being their first teacher and caring for them endlessly has been a blessing.  And there is truly nothing that I feel is more important in my life than being here with my family.  I believe that it is truly my place in the family.  I have done my best to raise my children, to teach them good manners, to be king, and polite, and thoughtful, to listen, to be strong and smart, and to make good choices and decisions.  To make them my focus, and my world, and to let them know every single day how important and special they are, and how much they are loved.

And now that Brantley goes to Kindergarten today, she is entering into school with all the lessons that we have taught her, all the experiences we have shared, and all the love we could possibly stuff into her little polka dotted backpack.

When you become a parent, you certainly learn how it feels to have your heart beat outside your body.  That's how I feel about all three of my children.  Their pain is my pain, and their joy is my joy.  And that's why I think that sending Brantley to Kindergarten is absolutely terrifying to me.  I am sending my sweet girl, my heart, to school, away from me and my safety net at home.  I am confident, no, positive, that she will blossom, and shine, and adore school, but she's growing, and the world can be cruel, and I can only pray that I have done my part in preparing her for this next step.  I hope I have taught her to protect her little heart and stand up for herself.  To be kind and friendly to everyone.  To make friends and not leave anyone out.  To be a leader, but consider everyone's feelings.  To let her sweet personality shine through and be her own beautiful self.  I don't want her to hurt.  Because it means I will hurt too.  But it will happen.  And I can only hope that I have started to instill the confidence in her that will carry her through.  Because, as I see it, if I fail in providing her with that knowledge that she is good and smart and capable, and everyone else is too, and that she is important and special and her classmates are too, and deserve the same respect, then I don't feel like anything else I do matters very much.

So, I send my little girl to school today, and I am filled with apprehension, joy, an immense amount of pride, love, and a hint of mama sadness.  How can time be passing so quickly?  My beautiful girl is growing up.  She's sensitive and smart.  A kind and courteous leader.  She's happy and silly, and confident, and imaginative, and a good, loyal friend.  She has a beautiful spirit, and is so much better than I could have ever imagined she would be.  I hope I have done right by her, and I have given her the tools to begin school with all the excitement and happiness in the world.

I know it's just Kindergarten, but she's my baby.  My first.  My heart.  My Brantley girl.  And I couldn't be more proud.

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