Chicago mom: An open letter to my child, out there in the world

My kid. My baby, really, for you’ll never ever cease being either a “baby” or “mine.” Your days and weeks and seasons are about to ask a lot more of you, time and energy-wise. This ain’t no morning pre-school, no sir.

I know you know that school is fabulous. But here’s some stuff you may not know; the stuff I hope I’ve imparted and the stuff that may just (eventually) sink in:

Be safe. Be brave. Ask questions – and really, really listen to the answers. (There’s a big difference between “listening” and “preparing your next statement.” I super duper need you to know the distinction.) Be a friend. Be a wonderful friend. To everybody, simply everybody you meet in your day. Share and relate and experience how terrific everyone’s otherness can be. Unless they’re jerks. Then, give them the benefit of the doubt. Once. After that, move on. Your spark is way too bright and special and sparky to be dimmed by someone with a number 2 pencil shoved where it oughtn’t be.

Make your brain happy. Put your mind at ease. Think good thoughts.

Science is great. Math is great. History is crazy great. But without creativity, nothing else you do in life will be quite so magnificent, you know? Don’t worry about the paycheck. The money will come. (It WILL. And if it doesn’t, learn to make do with less.)

I know you’ll miss me. Of course you’ll miss me. Guess what? I already miss you. Not just school You. I miss newborn You. Finding your feet You. And the You who used to grip my hand as we watched the Big Kids do their thing each autumn morning, waiting – just waiting – for your turn to be Big and Do Things In The World. Now you do. You eat breakfast and wear clothes and leave our home to become someone who spends her day out in society without even one person questioning her independent and functional existence. How could I deny you that? Isn’t that the whole point? So yeah. I’ll miss you like an appendage. But when you come home each day, I’ll be the ears and eyes and heart and arms which will absorb every moment you wish to share. (For as long as you’ll let me.) And this will be our routine until it’s time for you to not come home to this home anymore.

I’ll miss you then, too.

But this is my job: to make you ready for other homes and languages and embraces. And your job is to be amazing at your life. I’ve never worried about that part.

Are you ready? (Me neither.)

Go be amazing.

You’re gonna love Pre-K.

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