Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Before You Go To School This Year, 2019

Exhale.

I know, I know. Technically, three of you are AT school right now as I am finally sitting down to write this, but two of you haven't officially started yet, so it's fine. Everything is fine. This is fine.

Insert dog fire meme here. Seriously.

This week. Ooof. It is a rough one for us as parents. One kid leaving for college. Baby starting Kindergarten. Kid starting high school. Kid finishing elementary school. Kid getting driver's license any second.

It's a lot. And I know that it is hard for you all too, for all your own different reasons. Some of you are more worried about class loads and needing to advocate for yourselves, some of you are unsure of what the future holds, some of you just know that you are really, really, really going to miss one another.

And it's so big and there are so many feelings that I can hardly stand it at times.

So much that I almost just didn't do this. I almost "forgot" to write this letter, but I knew that eventually one or more of you would be asking where it was, so here I sit.


GOD, just looking at that picture from last fall has me tearing up...because this year, only four of you will be in it.

To the Oldest: You are leaving for college in two days. Less than two days at this point. One day and 19 hours. Not that I'm counting.

You aren't finished packing quite yet. You've got some loose ends to tie up. You want to try and hang out with a few friends before you go off into the big big world. And, like everything lately, it seems, you're running out of time. It's part of life, I suppose, that lesson. The truth that there are always going to be more things you want to do and see, more places to go, more people to spend time with than there are hours in the day. You've got to learn to figure out where your priorities are, and do it in a hurry. Always make sure that you schedule downtime for yourself in there too. It's hard, and I won't pretend that I have mastered it. I'm still serially over committed.

You have you whole dang life out in front of you, and I know that it all seems so overwhelming right now. I hope that we're prepared you as much as possible for the things that are going to happen. I hope that we have given you the tools you're going to need to navigate life. I hope that you know when to ask for help, and I hope that you know that we will always be there if you need us. We will.

Go and do amazing things. Have fun. Be smart. Make good decisions. When you make bad decisions, try to make them manageable. Don't ever hurt other people on purpose. When you hurt other people unintentionally, own it. Apologize. Do better. I could go on and on and on forever with all the things I want you to know, with all the things that I hope for you. But I won't. Neither one of us have a whole lot of time to spare this week, after all.

Just know this: I love you. I believe in you. I trust you to make good decisions.

And I sure am going to miss you. 

I will have to adjust my cooking volume at dinner time for sure, not having to feed the bottomless pit that is your stomach. It's going to be weird around here. Quieter. Check in every once in a while. Come say hi on game days, give your Dad a hug, and know that your crazy big loud family is cheering for you in the stands every time you step on to that field. I'm so proud of you. And I can't see the screen anymore because I am crying so much...so I'll stop here. Lean if you need to. I'm always here. I love you.

To Freckles: You've grown up so much this year, and are taking on so much more responsibility. AP classes, special programs, culinary arts, honor society, sports, and trying to work. It's a lot. You'll be getting your license pretty soon, and all the added responsibilities that come along with it. I've wondered, a lot, if it would all be too much. I worry about that for you, especially since you're also stepping into your big brother's giant shoes as he moves on to college. You'll be the oldest sibling here, the one all the rest of them look up to...and it's a lot.

My biggest hope for you this year is that you know when to say no. That you know if you are getting overwhelmed or too exhausted or you have too much on your plate. That you learn to step back from things, that you let me know if it gets to be too stressful. I want you to have fun, I want you to be a kid, I want you to go hang out with your friends and do all those teenagery things. I also want you to have your quiet down time to sit and draw when you need a break from everything else. Lean if you need to. I'm always here. And I love you.

To Mini-Me: You started high school this week, with a pre-existing group of friends thanks to drumline. It's not the worst thing in the world, knowing a bunch of people in different grades already, right? I'm still so happy that you did that last year with your brother and it gives me too many feelings to think about your doing it this year and going to world's without him. So, I'm not going to think about that for as long as humanly possible.

You rolled the enormous sousaphone case into the school this morning for the first day of marching band, not caring at all what anyone says or thinks, and I love that about you. You do what you love, regardless. Keep doing that. Keep being your 84 year old grannie self with your slippers and your blankets. Keep loving your friends big giant love all the time. Try not to stress out so much about school. It's just school. Honest. Have fun this year, live in the moment as much as you can. Lean if you need to. I'm always here. I love you.

To Chicken: Oooof. Big kid now. You're in the last year of elementary school, starting off the year with a long term sub since your teacher is still on leave. In some ways, I'm actually happy about it (even though I know you aren't), because it will force you to learn to advocate for yourself with more people. It is going to make you reach out and tell people what you need to learn best. And you're going to need that so much more next year in middle school.

Be kind, listen, don't always be the goofiest one to get the laughs. I'm totally signing you up for those auditions coming up in the next few weeks because I know how much you love being on that stage, even if you really are the "don't make me sing" dude. Lean here if you need to. I'm always here. I love you.

To the Little Ass Kicker: I really need to come up with another nickname for you. I know I said that last year and here we are, still without a new one. Oh well. I have been busy, I suppose. You are starting kindergarten tomorrow and I'm not even sure how that is possible. I swear you were just born, just clinging to your older siblings from the second they got home in the afternoons. I blinked and we ended up here. You are so ready for school though, and you love to learn.

Just please, please, please listen to the teachers when they tell you not to climb on the top of the play structure...you aren't actually Spider-Man, even if you think you are. I love you.

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