It seems both logical, and beyond possibility that this day is almost here. That we are paused on the front step with our fingers hovering mere inches from the doorbell. Leading up to this crescendo, I had been reassuring myself with the number of months remaining. Counting and recounting them relentlessly. Binding them up like a packet of letters. Transporting my fragile feelings in amber glass bottles to avoid degradation in sunlight. You are my first everything, and I am trying to hold this loosely, but it is so hard.
I thought motherhood would be a plane descending, but instead it was open heart surgery. Ribs were resected and widened enough to accommodate the voltage change in my tissues. My limbs unhinged to step in directions my brain could not mathematically calculate. When I emptied my pockets, seeds spilled on the ground, and the things I scattered did not yet sprout, but the soil surged warmer beneath my feet. The weeds pulsed greener than the grass.
You are this magical, miracle person who dismantled and regrew my edges. This child who traveled through me, whose heart beat on the inside of me, and then on the outside, and now you will take your heart and march it around your own amazing life.
Time is a particular variety of germination. All the blooming, rooting, and dying occurs at once, and you pick up a rope that you have no idea what lies at the end of it. Knowing the future would be catastrophic, because good or bad, our delicate human hearts wouldn't be able to bear it.
You are five years old. Five years of you on this earth, bending my life in the best possible way. I hope you will perpetually have extra joy that splashes out of your pockets, and when the world that is allowed to be a world breaks your heart, or scrapes you with disappointment paper cuts, you will heal with bright scars that lend strength like a library. I hope you will know you are allowed to feel, and that kindness is the final answer to any test. I hope you will bring yourself everywhere, and listen to what is already in you, regardless of the title plaque stapled to your door. That it is not eternally A, then B, then C. (That only works for the alphabet). I hope you will recognize you are supposed to get lost in the woods. That there are enough seats at the table, and if it looks like some are missing, you will listen for the voices that need a chair. I pray you will never doubt that you are already a triumph.
I would be lying if I denied that this moment has sometimes gripped me like a free fall, and in reckless bursts of imagination I wish I could keep you to myself forever. I will miss designing each day around examining bugs and constructing cardboard rockets, but I will clap until my palms are raw for all the adventures that will erupt from this mothering trust walk. I will forever be the one cheering wildly on the runway.
This doesn't mean I won't sit in my car and cry on the day I drop you off, releasing these years that wore a deep groove in me to the treasure box they deserve. The sacred vault of things no one can take from us. This is the next right thing, and my reaction is the right thing, and it both disassembles me, and gifts me hope. There are pieces of life we need to hold hands with, breathe with, and look directly in the eyes. We need to sit still with these moments. Thank these years personally for being a headlamp and handrail.
Above all, I know that you are going to be returned to me, rumpled, dirty, and happy, and I will wrap you in my arms and love you as I always will. I will love you through, and across, all the other bridges of necessary loosening.
To my sweet kindergartner, we are going to be great at this.