On the First Day of First Grade

Note: As I was proofing this, “You’re Gonna Miss This” came on my Pandora, I kid you not. Too funny.

Dear Charisse,

Today is your first day of first grade and I want to remember it because you’re not always going to be six and a half years old. A blog post that I read this morning talked about how the mama was gonna miss these days sometimes reminds me that I, too, will miss this part of your life when it’s long gone. I’m not your mama, but I love you so much that my heart aches with love.

Last night, you asked me to sleep with you so I did, even though I know I don’t sleep well because we’re both so hot when we sleep and you love to snuggle, but I did it anyway because some day you’re going to be a teenager, having a sleepover with your friends, and you’ll want nothing to do with me. Some day you’ll be far away in college, and snuggling won’t be an option. Some day you’ll have your own babies to snuggle. But last night, when you weren’t quite a first grader yet, you wanted to snuggle, so how could I say no?

This morning you wore a black skirt, a white shirt, and sneakers, and you asked mama to put your hair up in a bun so you could look like Lauren from So You Think You Can Dance. You looked totally cute, and then you grinned your big, toothless grin. I called you Lauren, and you said, “Sissy! I don’t look like her!” and then you put your face right up in mine and said, “… because she’s not. losing. her. teeth!” One day soon when you smile, all of those baby teeth will be gone, replaced with the bumpy-bottomed teeth of adulthood. Maybe they’ll be covered with metal and wires, correcting their alignment, and you’ll be grumpy because you mouth hurts. When people ask you to smile to see your teeth, you’ll say no, it’s too painful. But this morning, while you ate your muffins and drank your Danimals, you smiled your big, goofy, toothless grin at me, and I loved you just a little bit more as you inched closer to first grade.

You didn’t complain about your outfit today because when you bought it with mama, she made sure it wasn’t too tight (that’s why you’re wearing a size ten skirt when you’re not a size ten!), or too itchy, or too tight (you hate things that are tight), and that it didn’t have too many seams to bother you. You asked me to stretch the arms on the shirt for you, and so I did. It took a few minutes, but that meant you were talking to me while I worked on your shirt. I can just picture it in my head now when you’re asking for help with your prom dress, or your (heaven forbid!) cheerleading uniform, or your wedding dress, when you’re not such a little girl anymore. I can imagine when you don’t want help with your clothes because you just want to leave the house to go put on some makeup with anyone seeing. But this morning, you asked me to stretch the arms of your shirt, and you were six and you needed us as you got ready for the first grade.

While we were driving, I asked, “Remember that song from the Jonah VeggiesTales? ‘Bille Joe McGuffry was a really clumsy kid… on the first day of first grade I’ll tell you what he did’? You remembered, so you made up your own version: “Reesie Roo Lindsey was a really clumsy kid, Reesie Roo Lindsey was a really clumsy kid, she tripped on a socceeeer ball!”  Daddy and I laughed. Some day, soon I fear, you won’t be our Reesie Roo. Already you’re starting to forge your own identity in school and in your social life, and I’m happy for that, but I hope that your world of friends is ever too far off from the world of your family. Your friends can call you CJ, and only your friends, and no one else. But this morning, you were our Goosie, and our Reesie Roo, so we sang with you, you really clumsy kid, on your way to the first day of first grade.

When daddy and I took you to school (mama was already at her work for the day because it was her first day of school, too), you slipped you little hands into ours while we were on the road. I know some day you will be pushing hands away and slamming doors in our faces, but this morning, your little hand held mine tightly as we crossed the street, and then it tugged with force as we walked down the hall to your classroom. Today, on your first day of first grade, you wanted us with you, and who could ask for anything greater than your love?

I hope this first day of first day is amazing. There is so much to learn this year, and you do love to learn. When you were sitting at your desk, you took out a book and started reading. You are smart, Reesie, so smart, and I hope you never forget that. I hope you will always be the girl pulling the book out of her desk, whether it’s a novel, or a math book, or a science book… or, for now, “The Fat Cat Sat on the Mat.” It brings me joy to see how you love to learn, how you soak up what your teachers are saying, how you ask questions outside of class. Continue to learn, and continue to love. Yesterday, mama was explaining karma to you, and we were explaining to you what a habit is. I hope doing good things, and getting good karma, is a habit you are forming now. In first grade, it’s my wish that you will help your friends, be kind and say kind things, and love others the way you love us, your family (including those stinky dogs, because if you can love them after the wee on things and chew things up and bark and slobber and jump, you can love anyone!). I will cherish these days and hours with you, from a snuggle to a quick chat in the kitchen, because it goes by too fast. It seems like just yesterday you were the tiny thing throwing up down my back, on my bed (you love that story!), the silly girl in preschool who chopped off her bangs with a pair of renegade scissors.

So sissy missy, I love you one, I love you two, I love you three, I love you four, I love you more (don’t say that that’s my line!), and I love you starfish.

Forever and always,
Sissy Krista


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