Jake and Elsye,
Today is a great day! Today, you are going to learn and play, meet new people, and make new friends. You will meet Mrs. Simpson (Jake) and Mrs. Fargis (Elsye), the first in a long line of educators and mentors that will help you develop as a student and as a person. Today, you begin a journey that will see you learn more than your parents ever knew. You will study subjects in ways that didn’t even exist when Mom and I were your age. Today, you finally get to use all those fun school supplies that we bought so many weeks ago; the cool folders, erasers, scissors (leave the scissors alone until your teacher tells you otherwise). You are excited, and you should be.
Momma and I are so excited too; but our excitement is enveloped by the sadness that all parents experience at these huge milestones. You have to understand that we have watched you grow from just tiny babies into the little people that we love so much today. We’ve been privileged to be there for every skinned knee, loose tooth, and fever. We have changed diapers, applied band-aids, been to countless appointments, and rubbed warm heads with cold compresses. We have run hundreds of baths, brushed teeth, and prepared more meals than we care to count. More importantly, we have been there to help you through every new emotion–anxiety, embarrassment, sadness, hurt. We have been there to comfort you when you were rejected by other kids your age and to remind you that we should treat others as you wish to be treated.
This morning there is a change; we will drop you off to experience these things alone for the first time. We know you will do so well. You will be well-liked, maybe even popular. The next chapter of your still short book will include all the excitement you presume and then some.
But Mom and I also know that the world can be an awful place, and we just wish that we could be there to help you through the inevitable rough patches that await you. Up to now, you have been unscathed by the maladies of society. You aren’t cynical or racist. You treat people with kindness regardless of their skin color, economic status, or appearance. As of this morning, you haven’t made fun of or been ugly to people less fortunate than you. But these poor traits will reveal themselves to you in time and will inevitably rub off on you in some way. It is my and your mom’s prayer that, with Jesus’s help, you will weather these storms and come out the other side as an adult who loves people the way He does.
The truth is, we cannot be present for every moment of your life, and in the long run, that is a good thing. If we lived your life for you, made every decision for you, you’d never develop into the amazing adults that are waiting just a few years away—the ones that will be my and Mom’s best friends. You’d never learn to temper your emotions, or solve conflict—abilities that will serve you well in the future. You’d never grow up.
Today, we begin a journey, together and separately, that will end with you both completely different than you are today—smarter, taller, more mature. In fact, as you age, you may not even be able to recall this day. But rest assured that we will never forget it. No matter how much you grow or how old you get, we will remember the soft-skinned, snuggle-bugs that we sent off into the real world. We will always be here to help you where we are able. We will always hold dear the “baby days.” We will always be waiting for you when you come home.
Now, go. Enjoy this new adventure. Today is a great day!
We love you!
Daddy and Momma