My sweet pea 9-year-old, Lily, started fourth grade today. While she is excited and has nervous energy, I am anxious and stressed and don't want her to goooo! This is the part no one tells you: you just don't want your kids to grow up.
All of you parents who are off sending your kids to kindergarten or preschool for the first time this year... it doesn't get easier. It just doesn't. Each year is a reminder of how much closer you are to losing your baby. Lily will always be my baby. I know I have to give her wings to fly and all those things, but my winged-flying-child will always be my baby!
As kids get older, they start to take on habits from other people who are around them. School friends, teachers, mentors, coaches -- they all play a very vital role in how your child responds to the world. And while it is great to have a variety of influences, I just want to slip some of my knowledge and thoughts to Lily this fourth grade year.
As she starts fourth grade, I say these 9 things to my 9-year-old change-maker:
1. Be KIND.
You don't have to be nice, but you have to be kind... ALWAYS. There is a big difference between these two words. Nice: pleasant, agreeable, satisfactory. Kind: considerate, helpful, humane.
2. Mean kids are sad kids.
But they can also be very scary kids. In life, there will always be mean people; you ignore them and be brave and strong. And ALWAYS tell me if you are being bullied.
3. Ask questions. Always ask questions.
Ask your teachers, your parents, your friends, yourself... always ask questions and don't ever stop asking questions. I love your questions and you have such an inquisitive nature. Keep asking questions in life. Keep researching things like you do and keep trying to find YOUR OWN answers.
4. You hate me some days, but I love you every day.
It's true. Your 9-year-old hormones are wreaking havoc inside your small body, and since you love me so much I am the one who gets the worst of it. I take that as a compliment and I love you even more because of it. I love you every single day, no matter what!
5. Be thankful.
When you wake up in the morning... be thankful. When you eat, be thankful. When you go to school, be thankful -- because girls in some countries don't get that chance. Be thankful for your freedom, because some people are trapped in their world and you are not.
6. Keep jumping.
You are such a monkey and I want you to never forget that. Keep moving and climbing and jumping through life. Your body is strong and is only going to strengthen your core and your being... so jump around and find your movement through life.
7. Always hold my hand.
I love when you hold my hand. Your sweet hand fits perfectly into mine and we match. Hold my hand always.
8. No means NO.
Right now this seems like nothing... but I want you to understand this phrase and let it sink into your being: NO mean NO, always.
9. I am your mother, which means...
I will always support you and only you, no matter what. I will always be on your team; I will always fight for you; I will always listen; I will always pick you up; I will always have macaroons waiting for you -- and you will forever be my little egg.
Off you go, Lil... jumping into fourth grade. You are a change-maker and are going to do amazing things in this world!