I think as parents there are times we over- or underestimate our kids. We overestimate your ability to stay focused in church for an hour, the chores you can successfully do without us reminding you 103 times; we overestimate your ability to pour milk sometimes without spilling. We underestimate your kindness towards others, the ideas and concepts that you soak up like a sponge...and today, my precious girl...we underestimated your bravery.
Last night you were excited, but told me that you were going to be shy. This is something we have talked about over the last few weeks in preparation for the big day. I reassured you that you would make new friends in no time and school was going to be so much fun! Surprisingly, you slept. Mama didn't, and I also didn't get into a fight with my alarm clock in the morning as I typically do. I was wide awake at 5am, writing your name on all your belongings and making sure all the papers were signed and ready to go. I needed that mental preparation.
At 7am you were up on your own, ready for the day. The allure of new friends, new toys, and a new teacher were fresh on your mind. The intimidation of a new school and not knowing anybody didn't faze you one bit. You were on a mission.
You picked out your outfit, ate breakfast, brushed your teeth and combed your hair. You were very selective about which necklace and headband to wear that would match your brand new, pink ruffled dress. You folded the bottom of your polka dot leggings over carefully and meticulously.
You made sure (twice) that your morning snack was in your backpack. When Mama was making your lunch you made healthy decisions all on your own: carrots, mixed fruit, and string cheese to go along with the PB&J (your favorite). You put on your sparkling white shoes (not for long, I'm sure) grabbed your backpack and lunchbox and stood by the door trying to convince us it was time to leave.
That's when Mama turned into paparazzi. I snapped photos of you on the front step, and you decided you were "ready to rock" and posed appropriately. We hugged and kissed you and told you how excited we were for you. Then, with time to kill, we tossed a ball around the front yard.
It was in those moments that I started to really see how you've grown. I noticed how perfect you had made yourself look today without any help. You were dribbling the ball like a pro (balla balla!) and the smile on your face never disappeared. It hit me that you had matured overnight...we had underestimated how excited you were going to be.
It was hard to keep up with you through the parking lot and the hallways. We were early. Really early, and upon your insistence. You marched through the halls (first kid in the school, NOT kidding...) and surprised both your Daddy and I when you went straight to your classroom from memory. You didn't look back at us once and we were practically running to keep up with you.
After you hung your backpack and lunchbox in your cubby along with your denim jacket, I was sure this was it. I was waiting for the moment of horror to cross your face and the inevitable clinging, crying, and peeling (I even wore a second shirt in case you tried ripping it off). I wore pants assuming you would hide behind me when the teacher said hello and had the camera slung around my neck so my hands would be free to guide and help you.
Instead, you skipped over to your table, checked out your name tag and went through your pencil box. You then started looking through the shelves with toys, scoping everything out.
I'm pretty sure my jaw had hit the floor.
There you were, 5 going on 17, ready to take on the world. Daddy and I had to ask for goodbye hugs and kisses, and I reminded you that I would be there at 3:30pm to pick you up and to have a wonderful First Day of School.
It was all I could do to hold the tears back when I got to the car once I looked through my phone at all the pictures from the morning. I cried because I'm selfish and my baby girl is now in school. There's a part of me that feels like you won't need me, but you will. I remind myself that I need to be there every day after school to hear how your day went and help you remember the things you learned. I will need to listen to the songs that teach you about letter sounds, I will need to help you count out math problems using M&Ms (if we don't eat them all first...) and to read you books and help you spell. You will still need me, and that's comforting. But, most importantly, I realized how much I need you. I need you to remind me that time is precious and pretty soon these moments will be only distant memories and photographs. I need days like these to let it sink in that there will come a time when I won't hold your hand through everything, and I will have to sit back and let you spread your wings...ready to be there for your if you need me. That's what today was: practice.
Breanna, today you certainly surprised both your Daddy and I, and we are so very proud of you. You can do anything you put your mind to, and with one as bright as yours, you are bound to make the world a better place.
Love you, stinker.