To Lila on her preschool graduation

Dear Lila,

I can’t believe today is your pre-school graduation. (I also can’t believe how much of a cliché I am, tearing up as I type that sentence.) In a few hours we’ll watch you on stage with a miniature mortarboard and long-rehearsed songs and poems, and in a few more months you’ll take the next step to kindergarten.

You’ve earned this, and you’re ready, and we are unbelievably proud of you – not just for what you’ve done, but who you’ve become.

Transitions prompt you to summarize feelings, and I’ve been trying my best, but the emotions I feel about this season are hard to nail down. I’m excited for you, nostalgic for the school and community you’ll be leaving, and nervous about the world you’re growing up in.

I’m reflective on your journey toward today, and the indescribable ways you’ve changed my life over the past four years, nine months and 18 days. Because truthfully, I don’t think I ever really knew who I was before you. Maybe on some level I had an idea, but you opened my eyes and my heart to an entirely different world, one more colorful and dynamic than I could have believed existed. Once you arrived, everything suddenly mattered far more or less, based only on how it might impact you.

When you first started at this school, you were 12 weeks old. Tiny! And colicky! I was exhausted, back to work full-time, and unsure what any of that meant. I was straddling what felt like separate worlds and blended identities.

I expected daycare to be a transactional relationship; we pay them, they care for you, we wash bottles, they change diapers. But I was so wrong. I had no idea we landed at a truly remarkable school, one that would ultimately become a central part of our family’s community.

Over the years, you’ve grown from a floppy infant into a self-assured, gregarious young lady. You first entered these halls strapped in an infant carrier, and now you sprint down them on your own. We’ve had tears and laughter and sickness and artwork and biting and field trips and soiled clothes and school pictures and thousands of daily sheets detailing your snacks, naps and BMs.

We’ve both made best friends and found treasured teachers. We grew. Then we grew some more. You and I? We both found our rhythm. You let me ease into motherhood when it didn’t feel natural, and you continue to give me grace when I wing it and make mistakes.

So today, as we celebrate your accomplishments, I want to thank you. For being patient when I’ve been clueless, for being kind when I was not, and for leading with your heart. For being authentically Lila, and no one else. Mostly, thank you for being the best person for all the best reasons.

I know you will continue to amaze us and share your gifts with the world, and I’m honored to be along for the ride.

We love you. Congratulations.

4 thoughts on “To Lila on her preschool graduation

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