To my baby on your first day of daycare:
Think of it as a new adventure.
I know it’s hard, doing something new. Being around unfamiliar kids and adults in a building you’ve never seen before in your life. I know you’re scared and confused and kind of excited. I’m right there with you, little buddy.
You cried today, and I hated hearing the panic and fear in your cry. Your brother cried, and your sister cried, and I cried too. We hated leaving you knowing you were so very upset. But we’re a little bit older and wiser, and we know that you’re gonna be ok. You see, when I was your age, I took a plane ride halfway around the world to a new country where everyone looked different and spoke a different language. I went home with a family I’d never laid eyes on, whose words I didn’t understand. I was probably scared and uncertain too. But I don’t remember that time in my life. I’m not scarred by it. In fact, I know I’m better and stronger and happier because of it.
You can’t understand it yet, but you are going to thrive in this new environment. I know this, because I know you. You’re going to make friends and learn new things and have great experiences. Sometimes another kid might make you cry, and you’ll probably get hurt, and you’ll miss me; this is true. But my little love – you are resilient. You are learning how to adapt to changing circumstances, and this is a skill that will help you thrive in every situation for the rest of your life.
They don’t know you like I do, which means they don’t love you like I do (not that anyone could come close, not even remotely). It breaks my heart to think that you might want or need me and I won’t be there to answer your cry. You tell me “mommy, I sad” or “mommy, I scared” and it’s such a relief for me to be able to comfort you in those moments. I can’t spend much time thinking about you missing me without tears filling my eyes. Of course, because I’ve been doing this mom thing for eleven years, I also know this won’t happen as often as I may fear.
So today I reminded myself that as your mother, I have to make sacrifices for the greater good of our family. This is something both of my mothers did for me. It’s something your father does for you, too. Someday, if you become a parent, I hope you’ll do the same for the little ones who depend on you.
Today I held your hand, and then I let it go. I had to walk away when my mama heart wanted to scoop you up and walk right back out the door with you in my arms.
Today I watched as you took one baby step away from me and into your bright, brilliant future. I’m doing my part to make sure your life is filled with opportunities – to blaze a trail, chase down my dreams, accomplish my goals, and set an example for you. So that I’ll know, without a doubt, that I did my best to live the life I will advise you to live – one filled with hard work and dedication and endless gratitude and infinite love.
I hope you know how much I love you, little man.
Go be brave. Be happy. Be joyfully, beautifully you.