A letter to my first grader

by Heather Spring

13things

Dear Sweet Boy,

You’ve probably noticed I’ve been a bit weepy this week, as we’ve gotten you ready for school. You are so big!

How did we get here so fast? I mean, wasn’t it just yesterday that I was staring at your 6-pound self as you slept in the bassinet a few inches to my left? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was changing your diapers and begging you to say Momma? I know you don’t have those images etched in your memory the way I do, but these were life-changing moments for me that will always make my heart swell when I pause to take them in. So, yes, I’m teary today as my heart plays catch up with your independence. Time does fly when you’re having fun, and as quickly as we’ve gotten here, I’m reminded by just about every parent with older children, that in a blink of an eye, I’ll be writing you a letter as you leave for college. {Okay, cannot go there!} Your daddy and I have worked so hard to teach you how to do things by yourself, and now everything in me wishes we hadn’t. But that’s just a little piece of me. The other piece of me loves watching you do, be, and create. Which brings me to the second reason I’m teary…

I’m sooo stinkin’ proud of you! You are a little person—so grown-up at times. You are becoming generous, helpful, courageous, considerate, and a leader. God has made you super-duper unique and I’m speechless at times as I witness His design through you. There’s nothing like hearing your questions and seeing your brain at work. I pray that your sweet spirit will not be squelched by this world.

I am your mom. I take my role seriously. And it’s hard for me to be away from you for so many hours in a day! So here’s some thoughts to take with you… it’s my way of “going” with you:

1. Tell the truth, even if you think you’re going to get in trouble. I promise it’s worse to lie, or try to cover it up. That feeling in the pit of your stomach when you don’t tell the truth is worse punishment than just coming clean. There will be times you disappoint people in your life, but just remember our love for you remains, and there is an unending well of grace that you can draw from.

2. Listen to your teachers. Show the adults in your life respect. You are going to see some of your friends be unkind to teachers, or not listen to the rules, but don’t follow their example. Teachers are there to encourage and guide you as you grow up. We, your leaders, don’t always get everything right all the time, but even so, show us grace as we grow. You’ll do this momma’s heart good to hear you show the adults in your life proper respect—“Yes.” “Please.” “Thank you.” “I will.” “What can I do to help you?”

{Now if someone you don’t know tries to hurt you or you feel like you’re in danger, remember: NO, GO, YELL, TELL! You can also kick them in that place I told you about.}

3. Eat your lunch. There are starving children in Africa. There really are. Eat your food.

4. See God in others. If you look—really look; you’ll see it—beauty. God has made everyone so special! He’s put his fingerprints on us. It’s one of my favorite things to do, to look for the special qualities in others.

5. Be a friend. I know you’ll want friends, but to make friends you need to be a friend. When you’re bummed that you don’t have anyone to play with at recess, be on the lookout for someone else that might be “all lonely” (as you like to say). To have friends, you must first BE A FRIEND.

6. You don’t have to be first. It’s okay to let others go before you—it can be a lot of fun actually. You’ll be the line leader at times, soak it up and live it up, but there’s other ways of being a leader and sometimes that’s by letting another go before you.

7. This learning stuff takes work. Don’t lose heart if for some reason you’re not getting everything as fast as your neighbor. Just keep after it! We can waste time and energy comparing ourselves to someone else, so instead, strive to keep your head in the game—you’ll get there! I know how easily you get distracted, you might get that from me, but just remember how long it took you to figure out how to put the straw in your Capri Sun? Seriously! That took some practice, right buddy? But now you’re a poking machine!

8. Have fun. Laugh. Be a six-year-old. Talk about poop and legos until your heart’s content. I love your little brain that is obsessed with turtles, Lego-Batman, and revving up your imaginary motorcycle (which is actually in the shop getting fixed, you mentioned). Honestly, I probably don’t have to tell you to have fun, because you can’t help it, you are the PARTAY! So, maybe this one’s for me. I don’t say it enough! I usually hear myself saying, “hurry up” not “have fun!”

9. It’s not a bad thing to be different. I know we’ve talked about how not everyone loves Jesus. I know you still can’t fathom that being the case, but it’s true. Not everyone’s going to believe what you believe and that might make you feel “different” at times. But I promise, this is normal, this is natural, and it’s a reality that you will feel for the rest of your life. But once you really get this, a confidence will trump any other negative feelings you may be receiving from others. He’s worth it, sweet boy! He’s worth it!

10. Kids can be mean, but you don’t have to be. Bullies are out there, unfortunately. And when you come home torn up over what someone said to you—that was intentionally meant to hurt you—it will take everything in me not to go to lunch with you the next day to give them the mom-stare over some s’mac and cheese. But I won’t. But just know, that kids that want to hurt your feelings, probably are themselves…hurting. So let’s pray together for them.

11. Girls can be your friends. Ignore anyone that bugs or teases you about having a “girlfriend.” We’ll talk about girls in MUCH greater detail later, but for now, just remember you’ll want to be nice to girls now because I promise you’ll want to get to know them more later. Dad already had the sex talk with you when you were a day old, so he thinks you’re good to go, but I think we’ll probably have to revisit it later. You finally have come to terms that I am off-the-market and we won’t be getting married, even so, I am more than okay with being the “girl” in your life.

12. You are loved. This really is the most important thing. That’s why I say it so often.  Because when people know that they’re loved, it changes how they live. When you, Noah, really grasp how much you are loved—not only by your momma and daddy—but by the God who knit you together in my womb, then everything else will come naturally. The loving, the listening, the working… all of it, will be an outflow of the inflow. Believing you are loved is empowering. It’s humbling (I know you don’t know what that word means, yet, but it’s a good word). Being loved frees you from feeling like you have to be “good” enough for my love. Your understanding of all of this will grow—but for now, as you walk away from the car and disappear inside your elementary school, hear my words: I LOVE YOU!

13. You are my arrow. There will be a day that I release you, but (thankfully) the time has not come. But even today, you, my arrow, are being made. And over time, by delicate art and focus, your daddy and I, striving to follow God’s leading, are crafting and shaping you into an arrow with grand purpose. Our God will direct us every step of the way. And I have a feeling before I know it, I’ll be placing my arrow into the bow, drawing you back to release and watch you fly.

But even tomorrow, as you’re walking through the double doors I see a foreshadowing of things to come. Go, my little arrow. You are not alone. Our God is with you and your momma is praying for you like crazy.

Love,
Mom

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. -Psalm 127: 3-5

4 thoughts on “A letter to my first grader

  1. And in a few years, his fiancé will read this letter and melt at the fact that someone loves him as much as she does.

  2. Well, once again, you have me sitting here crying without the ability to restrain it! You just brought me back 32, 30, 28, and 25 years when I wrote similar letters to each of my four INCREDIBLE IRREPLACEABLE BLESSINGS that God gave to Don and I. The lump in my throat is always near when I go back to where you are, but God us good to relax that lump through the years! And you’re so right … You’ll turn around and be writing a similar letter when he goes off to college, and then again when he marries. We just “gave away our baby and third daughter Ashley in June) 😢 My wisest counsel to you is to CHERISH EVER SINGLE PRECIOUS MOMENT – even the tough ones. All to soon they are gone! Bless you as you march on through Noah’s life with him! Thanks for sharing your “mommy heart” with us!

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