“WAIT!”…I want to scream. “Do you have your bag and your lunch? Did you use the bathroom? Did you get a drink?” “WAIT!…Do you remember mommy’s number and your address? Don’t tell anyone, but just remember it. It’s ok to say Hi to new friends, but don’t talk to strangers (like that’s not confusing seeing as friends are strangers before they become friends…sh*t) and if you see a stranger yell STRANGER DANGER and find a safe adult, like your teacher (who will be a stranger because you don’t know her yet…double sh*t)” “WAIT!…If anyone says something you don’t like or feel safe about tell someone right away. If anyone tells you to keep a secret tell mommy right away. If anyone touches you, pushes you, pinches you, tickles you, BREATHES on you, tell mommy right away. Remember, everything covered by your bathing suit is yours.” “WAIT!…What am I forgetting to tell you and teach you? It’s cram time, this is it the final test, you without me, little fish big pond. WAIT! WAIT!! WAIT!!! I’M NOT READY.”

But you are…with the twinkle in your bright eyes…barely containing all that excitement that has built up for months in that little body. You’ve been ready for a long time, asking daily if today was the day. Getting your supplies in check and having full confidence in your knowledge and abilities. And it’s not that I don’t, I do, I do have so much faith in you. I know you’ll find your way and make friends and learn and have fun. It’s just that I’m not ready to stop knowing about every minute of your day as it happens and I struggle to see you for the almost six year old that you are because really you’re just my baby. My little baby girl who uses fancy words and asks smart questions. My little baby, that when you curl up you still fill up my arms and rest on my heart. My little baby who doesn’t yet know the ways of the world but wants to. And I want you to learn and grow. But I also want to keep you near and safe. So I want to yell “WAIT!!! Don’t go! Don’t grow! Mommy’s not ready.” But YOU are. So I don’t say wait, I say “Good morning love, you look beautiful. You look ready for school. You’re going to be great! I’m so proud of you. I’ll be here waiting for you. I love you very much. The bus is waiting.” It’s time now. Here it is, the first day of kindergarten.