Sunday, August 30, 2015

On the Eve of First Grade

To Our First Grader,

Here we are ready to start your second year of school. We loved watching you bloom in and out of the classroom last year. And yes, even though I say and do in a way miss the early days of your life in infancy and toddlerhood, I am loving this season of your life, the elementary years.

Even as you learned to read, which would seem to be the skill that stands out the most in kindergarten, the thing you learned to do that amazes me the most is the way you can add and subtract in your head (no finger counting). The other thing I will always remember and love from your early learning years is your passion for health. You are very aware of what is healthy for you and what is not, and for the most part you are very self conscious about eating the right things. You will eat the occasional sweets, but you LOVE your fruits and vegetables and make sure we all know that we should be eating more of them too. I hope this awareness and passion for fueling your body with what's good for it stays with you for life. This is definitely one of my weaknesses, and  you don't get this from your father or me, but we're so glad you're that way anyway.

Even though we will forever have a momento from kindergarten art with the ceramic water dish you made for the cat, my fondest story is probably the one of you climbing the rope to the top in gym. Between that and the way you impress people with the way you fly across the monkey bars I hope you keep that strength. It should serve you well in some athletic capacity at some point.

First grade is picking up with even more activities and involvement than last year with soccer again, finally horse back riding lessons, gymnastics, the move from co ed baseball to softball, Girls Scouts, and you want to do some sort of music lessons so I guess hopefully we can find a way to fit them in. You are your parents' daughter in the way you love to be busy and socialize. I worry sometimes that it's too much but you're a smart, high energy, very capable kid so even at six I trust that if it gets to be too much you'll let us know and we can reevaluate together.
Even with soccer for instance sometimes I'm not quite sure if it's your thing. It's the most aggressive sport you've done so far and even though you may be definitely the sweetest kid I know, aggression doesn't easily go with that, but you improved by the end of the year last year so maybe you'll become a soccer player this year. You have loved gymnastics since you were two, and I feel that no matter what activities end up being your thing the skills you learn in gymnastics are great for any sport. You love animals, your friends here have horses, and your dad grew up riding horsrs so finally you'll get the chance to hopefully master riding a horse so one day when you're older you can enjoy riding with friends and hopefully your dad too (I'll watch). You're better at softball than soccer I think, and since that was my thing growing up I'm of course excited to see how playing softball goes for you in the spring. As much as I loved it though, again if it doesn't end up being your thing I'll get over it. I know at some point one or two of these things will become your main passion and eventually that will be what you throw your time and efforts into.  But for now enjoy trying all these new things until you find that thing that you can't live your childhood years without.

I think one of the greatest things from the past year was watching the friendships you made. There is a group of about five of you girls I think that became pretty good friends, and I think three of you are even on the same soccer team this Fall. Even though after being in the same class together last year you are all split up between all the first grade teachers, but hopefully the friendship you all began last year continues this year. As two people that spent our whole childhood in the same small town, your father and I really wanted that experience for you and your sister, and one of the great things about that is you'll spend your childhood going to school, playing sports, and making memories in and out of the school house with the same valuable set of friends.

I love it all, kid. I love watching you excel in the classroom and your love for learning. I love watching you on the athletic field or gym, I love seeing the relationships you're building with girls that will hopefully only get stronger as you all grow up through these school years. You love life, kid, and I love watching you live it and enjoy it. Even though in the last year you have also learned about the art of being defiant and questioning your parents and unfortunately even occasionally being a little mean to your little sister, we still think you are such an awesome, great kid. You really do have such a loving, sweet heart. You set a good example not just for your sister, don't forget that she is always watching  you, but for others as well. I know you didn't necessarily sign up to be a leader or someone that people look up to, but you are. You don't have to be perfect, and you will make mistakes, but just keep being you, the kid with a big heart, a passion for people and living life, adventurous with little fear, and a love for being theatrical no matter who is watching.

We can't wait to watch another year of your childhood unfold. As we said before we believe in you and you'll be great. We love you to the moon and back. Have an awesome first grade year, our girl!

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