You’d think it was a normal evening at our house if you just happened by. Mommy at the computer with wine and music. You watching a show before bed. If you look close, though, things are little more organized tonite. A little tighter. Cleaner. More ready for the next day. Which is not typically your mama’s MO. But tonite it has been my therapy while I push back sobs and channel my angst with laundry and paperwork, and then turn on my best smile and biggest hugs for you while you pack your new backpack and pick out your clothes and braid your hair so the curls will fall just right tomorrow….
Tomorrow. Your first day of middle school.
Middle school was not great for me. I suppose it could have been worse–but I mostly just tried to get through it. I was super awkward and super insecure and hadn’t figured out the really cool things about myself yet. You, my girl, are so far ahead. You’re confident. Strong. Sure of yourself. And full of more love and grace than I can even begin to describe. Your care for those around you astounds me. Your capacity for joy even more, especially when life has handed you such a rotten, awful deal in some ways.
And this means, that deep in the marrow of my bones, I know you are ready. And you will be fine. Even on the hard days. It will be okay and you and I will make it through the vast wasteland of middle school, hopefully avoiding the most landmines we can along the way.
You’ll be okay. It’s the giant world that scares me–because I know it will break your heart a thousand times, as it already has, and my ability to protect you from its wrath grows less and less the older you get.
This whole blessed summer we’ve hung in this marvelous space between what was and what will be–suspended with friends and family and long summer days turning into beautiful summer evenings. I’ve had you right with me most of the time, and it has been bliss. But tomorrow, tomorrow you walk into middle school, and I can already see you holding yourself taller, smiling at the new adventures. You’re so ready for this. And I am in awe of how fast you’ve grown and how long ago and also just yesterday those early days of just you and me, when everything was so simple and I could hold you tight against me and breathe in the scent of you and all was right with the world, seem.
I blinked, my precious girl. And here you are. Ready to take on the world.
I ache for the ways your life has already taught you pain. A million times a day I want to tell you how sorry I am for the things that have taught you far too young that this life we live can be so brutal.
And a million times a day I also want to say, “But see how beautiful, too?” Because oh, my sweet girl…you are so loved. So held firm in the grip of a village mightier than you even know. It eases the sore and grieved spots in my heart on a daily basis when I remember the truth I’ve promised you for years now, “You will never be alone. No matter what.”
I have no idea what’s coming for us, kiddo. Life has changed so much in the last few years for us I hardly recognize it–and I have no idea how tomorrow or the next day or the next year will unfold. What I know is that we have people. And we have laughter. And we know joy. And this is everything.
And so, Curly Girl, tonite I pray. Fiercely. For your safety (God how I pray for your safety, wanting to fall to my knees sometimes with the desperation of it). For your heart to remain full of love. For your mind to grow and learn and drink up new knowledge. For your spirit to remain intact, firm in the truth that you are God’s and God is love and nothing can ever change that. Nothing. Not ever.
And I pray for the other kids we love. For Gabriel and Ruby. For Livy and Ethan. For Beckett and Jett. For Madeline. And I pray for our teacher friends and the ones who’ve brought you this far, giving thanks especially these last two years for our LPAS family. They have quite literally carried us, sweet girl, and I’m not even sure you realize how much. And I pray for the new family we’ll have at WMSFA. That we’ll find our place, and that you’ll be able to seek and find some good friends for the journey and some golden teachers to inspire you along the way.
Tears fall, tonite, my girl, on this keyboard. I cannot help it. And in them is all my love for you and all my joy and pride in who you are becoming.
Break a leg, Curly Girl–this world? It is your stage, and the role you have to play, and the song you have to sing–it matters so very much.
All my love, to the moon and back,