Dear Taryn,

Tomorrow morning, we will wake you up early with a smile and I know you’ll be your usually grumpy self until you really wake up.  You’ll scowl your signature scowl, stretch and then voice a random complaint, likely the last thing you thought of before going to bed or something you dreamed about.  It will be random and it will make me smile.  I’ll give you a long hung and you’ll curl up in my arms and snuggle on my lap, your head on my chest with your long legs dangling down to the floor.  You’ll tell me again how mad you are that we won’t let you ride the bus.  And ask, yet again, if you can wear your new favorite color purple from head to toe.  We’ll settle on the purple shirt and the purple glitter barrett.  You’ll sneak a peek into your lunchbox to double check I didn’t forget anything important.  And you’ll try to sneak your favorite dog stuffed animal into your new purple backpack.  We’ll put our new routine in place, get dressed, brush hair and teeth, eat breakfast with the boys, pack your backpack, all the things Ty has done for the last 8 years.  So while we are used to this routine, it will be different, because it will be you as well.  Two carpool lines and homework and art projects and library books.  Sack lunches and field trips and the PTA.  There is a huge part of me that can’t wait for our family to do elementary school again, I loved it the first go around!  The parent involvement, being a room mom and seeing a huge, excited smile when I make a surprise visit during lunch to eat with you.  You are so smart and I know that this is the perfect time for you to broaden your horizons.  I know this summer was especially hard on you with Teagan being so sick.  School will be a welcome reprieve and so wonderful for you right now, your very own thing, just for you.  I have no doubt that you will soak up each and every thing that is presented to you.  You’ll focus the way that you do, master it and be eager to move on to the next.  Your days will go so fast because you will be so busy absorbing and learning in new and different ways than we’ve taught you at home and I couldn’t be more excited for you.  I’ve tried so hard to keep up with your constant love of learning, exploring and figuring things out.  I love how you focus on things with a calm, quiet attention when something truly interests you.  I love that you quickly master things and always figure out a way to take it just a little bit further.  I know that you are a little bit excited, and a lot bit nervous.  It’s ok to be nervous.  It is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign that you are aware.  I think that’s a gift.  Change can be difficult for many people, not just little kids.  It’s learning how to manage it that counts and I hope we have prepared you in every way possible to face the things that will make you anxious in the coming days.  Preschool was wonderful for you, you conquered your fears, the rock wall, the tall curly slide, meeting new friends, improvising on show-n-tell day and speaking with confidence in front of your class.  Daddy and I are so proud of you for those things and so many more.  You grew so much in pre-k, your teacher blessed you in so many ways by embracing who you are, we will always be so thankful for that.  But I’m your mom, and I worry.  I worry you’ll get lost and scared when looking for your classroom.  I worry lunchtime in the cafeteria will be overwhelming with so many children and a time limit.  I worry you won’t eat or drink enough.  I worry somone will bully you on the playground.  Or that you’ll run out in front of the swings without me there to remind you not to.  I worry you’ll be so afraid of the auto flushing potty / loud hand air dryer that you just won’t go.  I worry about you hiding under a desk during a fire drill.  I worry someone will be mean to you and hurt your soft, sensitive heart.  I worry you don’t know anyone and you’ll be scared after Daddy and I drop you off.  Even though I know in so many ways that you’re ready, I must confess, I’m not sure I am.  It seems like yesterday Daddy and I prayed for you to come into our lives.  And here you are…no longer a baby in our arms, grinning up with your chubby cheeks and bright blue eyes.  Now, you’re our tall, sweet, funny, feisty, loving, sassy, loyal yet shy little girl.  No signs of our baby remain.  There is a part of me that misses that baby but there is a bigger part of me that is so happy with where you are now.  I am thankful that at 5  you still snuggle in my lap, cuddle every chance you get, and constantly want to be next to someone who loves you.  I love that you love your best friend Lily and want more than anything for her to go to school with you, you ask me every day why she can’t.  I love that you giggled the most wonderful sound I’ve ever heard after reading for the first time this summer.  The joy in your eyes in that moment was amazing.  I love that you just changed your favorite color again and that you declare “Ty’s old school” is now your “new school” every single time we drive near it.  While I do miss my tiny baby, there is a bigger part of me that is so incredibly excited to see the person you are becoming.  I won’t lie, you are a lot of work, you’ve challenged me often and there are many moments over the last 5 years that tested my patience and proverbial sanity.  Looking back, those moments are also some of the best memories and I can honestly say that you make me laugh soooo much.  You are one of the most animated, funny people I’ve ever met.  You are fascinating and complicated and just fabulous in a million different ways.  You might see me with tears in my eyes and Daddy’s face go pale when it is time for us to leave you with your class tomorrow.  This is just one of those things that parents do when we realize that we cannot stop time and that our baby girl is growing up.  Our tears (and paleness) show how much we love you and how proud we are of you, I hope you know that.  Well, Daddy being pale may be due to the thought of you being around boys….but if there is one thing I am confident of, it is that you can handle yourself with the boys, just as Ty or Teagan.  You’ll do fine and daddy will figure that out too (eventually hopefully).  I hope that you and Teagan do ok being away from each other during the day 5 days in a row.  He was so sweet snuggling with you at dinner saying he’ll “misssss you T”.  He will, so much.  You and Ty both.  As we turn this corner, I hope you make a friend on your first day, I think that would give you a sense of peace right away.  I hope you find someone who will be loyal and loving of your sweet heart, because that is exactly the kind of friend you are in return.  I pray that your teacher embraces all that you are and finds ways to bring out the best of you.  I hope she teaches you in new and different ways than we have and sparks an early love of learning.  We are always your first teachers and just because you are going to school, we want you to know that won’t change.  We love your sense of wonder and know that kindergarten will just make it that much bigger and better.  We will always explore, explain, discover and grow with you!  More than anything, I hope that when we pick you up you are breathless with all the things you experienced on your very first day of kindergarten…..I can’t wait to hear all about it.

Love, Mommy

(((ps – we took these shots early so that I could leave my camera at home on the first day of school and focus on my girl 100%.  we actually did 3 locations and 3 outfits in one morning all relating to starting kindergarten, but it will be a long time before I can proof them, I need to catch up on client work first.  I proofed just a few to mark the occasion 😉 )))