My dearest Lilly,
Today was your first day of kindergarten, and I would bet I was more terrified than you were!
You looked so grown up in your spankin' new Skechers, toting your purple, kitty cat backpack. My breath caught in my chest as I took your picture and thought, "I can't believe you're almost six and a kindergartener! How did that happen?" Time passes quickly when you least expect it to.
We drove to your school and talked about all the marvelous adventures you will have this year. I felt a lump rise in my throat when we pulled into the elementary school's parking lot. You probably don't know this, but I took a couple of deep breaths before opening your car door.
And the first thing you did, my darling girl, was reach for my hand as you slid out of your seat.
We made our way to the east doors, to congregate with the other anxious kindergarteners (and their anxious parents) before going into the school. With each step across that dark pavement, you moved closer to me, tucking your shoulder behind my hip. I knew you were scared when you held my hand tighter. I held on tighter too.
Your teacher greeted us with a radiant smile; her face as bright as sunshine. She welcomed you to class with absolute sincerity, and quickly saw you were worried about your first day. I watched her reach for (and hold) your hand as you walked into the classroom. And I knew then--from that small gesture of love--that you were going to be okay.
Sometimes--in life--we have to do things that are hard; things that are foreign or uncomfortable to us. Often we are faced with frightening tasks; bravery seems fleeting when we must stare down our fears. We wonder how we'll find strength in the middle of the tumult, when our hardships cease to abate. Sadly (but naturally), we cower and quake when we feel our faith start to fade.
But I want you to remember this important thing, Lilly: There will always be a hand for you to hold. A hand to help you through it.
You are surrounded by loved ones; the members of your family. They will strive to be there for you, to champion you through rough patches and to celebrate your triumphs. You have a good heart and loving spirit, and will make friends wherever you go. They will be there for you, too. Your friends will show their love through Coke slurpees and Popcorners. They will send you text messages and emails when YOUR son or daughter goes to kindergarten. They will call you to make sure you are okay. They will leave Diet Coke on your doorstep (and a mark on your heart)! These are the ways they will "hold your hand"--to offer you solace and support.
Then there's me, Lilly. Don't forget you have me. My hand will be a constant; continually outstretched to you. All you have to do is take it.
My best to you this school year,
and with love,