I almost don't want to let you go. In fact, I've told your father numerous times that we should just wait another year or two before starting you in school. He talks of socialization and not wanting you to fall behind. I talk of cooking on the counter, playing at the park, visiting the science museum and enjoying you so much. I love having you around. If I had an ounce of confidence in my ability to homeschool you, I would. Not so much because I think you are going to struggle in school but because, you're mine. You've always been mine. It scares me to let you go.
I know you're SO excited to start school and make new friends and call your teacher Miss Honey (from the movie, Matilda), but I worry about you. I probably always will. Despite the fact that often you show more emotional maturity than many grown ups I know. I worry about you because I went to school. I know what it's like sometimes. I know that some kids (and teachers) are just plain mean. I know what it is like to be alone in a crowded room. I wish I could always be there to encourage, but I can't. There are some places you have to go alone.
If I could give you any gifts right now, they would be this:
I want you to understand that people are cruel to other people because THEY are hurting. Something is off about their lives and sometimes projecting their anger on others helps them briefly forget their own pain. Understand that those who seem the prickliest are the ones who need the most support.
I know that I've been telling you for years how awesome, smart, and beautiful you are … but you won't always be the best at everything. In fact, you may be terrible at something. That's OK. Actually, that's great. We are defined by how we react to failure. Remember that the expert in anything was once a beginner. You will struggle at something. That doesn't mean you're not meant to do it. Be humble enough to work on things that don't come naturally to you.
Never be afraid to raise your hand. If you are struggling with a concept, chances are half the class is too. Don't be afraid to be yourself. You really are awesome, smart and beautiful. Carry that confidence with you when you meet new people. Most people aren't looking for a "perfect" person to be friends with, they want somebody real. Have the courage to be yourself and real friendships will follow.
I know you like order. I know you like when everyone is following the rules. I do too. Every single day of school there will be times of chaos, it may be at recess or during reading time. There will be chaos. May you not lose yourself in the chaos. Though the storms rage around you, may you carry your own weather. May you not be overwhelmed by the anarchy.
Good luck on your first day.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Candy House Blog. It has been republished here with permission.