Whether your child is about to start kindergarten or college, we invite you to read Dr. Lai’s letter she wrote to her first born the night before she started kindergarten. Spoiler: You might want to grab a tissue.
As we sit, the night before kindergarten, your toes peeking out from under the comforter, I notice that your toes are not so little anymore.
Tomorrow those toes will step up onto to the bus and carry you away from me. Another step towards independence. Another step to a place where I can protect you less. But I do notice that those toes have feet and legs which are getting stronger. You’re not as wobbly as you used to be. Each time you take a step you seem to go farther and farther.
I trust that you will remember what I’ve taught you. Look both ways before you cross the street, chose friends who are nice to you, and whatever happens don’t eat yellow snow. I also trust that there are other eyes and hearts who will watch and guide you.
But that won’t stop me from worrying about each step you take.
Won’t stop me from holding my breath.
Just like when you first started to walk, I’ll always worry when you falter.
I smile because I know you’ll hop up onto the bus tomorrow, proud as punch, laughing and disappearing in a sea of waving hands. I just hope that at some point, those independent feet will proudly walk back and stand beside me. Maybe it will be when you first gaze into your newborn’s eyes, or maybe it will be when your child climbs onto the bus for the first time.
Until then, I hold my breath each time you take a step.
Naline Lai, MD
©2017 Two Peds in a Pod®, reposted from original 2009