Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Lunch Box

Dear Grace,

On the table right now sits a lunch box ready to be packed for the very first time. Unlike all the rest of the items we purchased for kindergarten, this one causes a prolonged stare and forces me to catch my breath. The school box is a rite of passage. For the first time in your life, you will be away from me going to school all day.

And I can’t believe we got here so quickly.

One day that comment will most certainly cause you to roll your eyes and growl a “mo-om.” It always did for me. But now my mom doesn’t seem so off her rocker.

It feels like just yesterday that your dad and I were a spry young couple looking for our very first home. He wanted to quit throwing money into rent with nothing to show for it and we both very much wanted a baby.

We were praying for you nine years ago.

Our desire for you guided our home search. We wanted yard space for you to play. We wished for a low traffic street so that you would be safe. We preferred a quiet neighborhood in walking distance to a library, pool, and park for us to enjoy. Most of all, we hoped to be in a particular school district for you to attend elementary school.

When we finally got pregnant with you, we were over the top excited. Well, except for the crazy sick part but you were totally worth it. :) We painted your room, bought all the baby stuff, and began to imagine life with a baby.

Soon our dream became our reality. One night when I awoke my water broke and I knew that meant you would be here within 24 hours. I woke your father and told him that it was time to go. He asked me if I was sure and I said yes, at which point he quickly followed up with, “Can I take a shower first?” Apparently he wanted to look good for your grand entry into the world. On the way to the hospital, I became overwhelmed. What would life look like with you in it? In between contractions I uttered, “I don’t know if I’m ready for this.”

But after a long labor and a few stressful moments I heard your cry and all I wanted to do was hold you. I was ready. I had been ready for years and finally God had answered our prayers. Looking at your daddy, I saw a tear run down his cheek as he announced, “We have a girl.”

When they put you on my chest I had the tears. She’s beautiful. And I was in love. You put your tiny fingers around mine and I knew I only wanted to be with you. After you nursed your daddy picked you up again. As I watched him adore you, I fell in love with him in a whole new way. Our whole world changed for the better

And it feels like just yesterday.

But it wasn’t. You are growing quickly and somehow it is already time to send you off to this school we thought about nine years ago. Whoa.

Being home with you has been an incredible gift. Seeing your every “first,” playing games, taking walks to the park, reading books to you and now you reading them to me, snuggling on the couch, tickling you so that I can hear that amazing infectious laugh…it has become my everyday joy.

And now, as much as I want to hold you, I’m happy to hand you your lunch box and let you go to kindergarten because this is a life transition you are ready for. After all, you repeated again this morning that you wanted the day to go by fast so that your first day would be here. I love that. I was always in to school too. :)

So much opportunity lies ahead of you.

Watching you thrive in this new season of life makes me smile even as I type. I can’t wait to see your excitement as you show me school projects and tell me about all the new things you learn. Even more, I can’t wait to see how you shine for Him. You always say “I love God the most” and that calms my heart as I entrust you to your teacher for a full day. Always remember that as long as you cling to Him you will get through every situation you face. And, as long as you let your little light shine – and it shines oh so brightly - you will grow friendships and mature in unimaginable, awe-inspiring ways.

You are an amazing girl, sweetheart.

Have an awesome first day! And be sure to pay attention to your lunch box because there is a special note in it from me. I know. I’m a sap. I’ll be thinking about, praying over, and, quite honestly, missing you the whole day.

Life is changing but it is an exciting change.

Once that end of the day bell rings, however, be prepared. I'm going to smother you in hugs and kisses.

Bursting with love for you,


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