In just a week, we will celebrate your much-anticipated first day of school. Our countdown to kindergarten will conclude as you strap on your almost-too-big backpack and enter into your new school. You’ll be giddy excited with a twinge of nervousness. And I’ll be a hot mess of emotion. There will be some silent cheering because, let’s face it, it’s time. A few years ago, when you insisted on going to a dinner party with a calculator strapped around your neck “to do my numbers, mommy”… those occasions I’ve seen you take more joy in a new workbook than I would in a Target gift card… it became pretty clear that you are hardwired for learning. For school. And I’m pretty pumped to watch you dive into this brand new world of kindergarten academia.
But, Carson, sometimes it’s hard for a mama to let go. Because when a big day like this approaches, the flashbacks come. Of the countless nights rocking you to sleep in your footie pajamas. Of the booboos- both real and imaginary- nursed back to health with kisses and superhero bandaids. That’s just par for the course, bud. It’s how we mamas work. So if you happen to notice that, behind the smiles and excitement I have for you this week, my eyes are just a bit glazed over, this is why.
It’s time, though. It’s time to send you running, Angry Birds lunchbox in hand, out of the proverbial nest. Because, while part of me would love nothing more than to shelter you and protect you and bubblewrap you forever, I also know that growth occurs when we break out of the layers upon layers of self-protective wrapping. As I send you off, there are a few things that I desperately want you to remember…
- My hope for you is that you would work hard while still embracing imperfection. Failure will come, and it’s okay. Sure, we want you to shoot for the stars, to be all that you can be, and all that jazz… but it’s okay to be mediocre in some things. It’s alright to lose and to fail. That’s life, buddy. Truthfully, it’s often through our failures that we’re humbled and reminded that we’re not all that awesome after all. So we’ll celebrate your A’s and successes and wins. Oh, we’ll celebrate. But let’s go ahead and establish a mutual understanding that you won’t excel at everything, and you won’t win every time. Don’t let that ruin you. At some point, we all just need to let the artists be artists and the rocket scientists be rocket scientists.
- Remember to whom you belong. Of course you are an Allison and the son of your doting mom and dad. But I pray that, above all, you would know deep in your soul that you belong to God. That His fiery love for you and acceptance of you trumps all. So when you answer that question incorrectly or get picked on for that calculator around your neck, remember that your ultimate worth and acceptance comes from Christ. And nothing you do can ever change that.
- I pray that you would put on compassion and love. That you would be known not for your academic abilities or athletic prowess or your posse of friends but for your kindness and compassion. Carson, I pray that you would have an eye for the outsider and the hurting and the different and that you would be the one to approach and befriend them. Because, buddy, we were that outsider. We were separated from God when He stepped into our mess and brokenness and provided a way out. That love He has poured out on us was crazy, seemingly nonsensical, and completely transformative. Let that, my son, be your example.
- Do good. And, sure, be good. But don’t spend so much energy striving toward your own sense of goodness and morality that you ignore your need for Jesus.
- And finally, you must never, ever become too cool to give me a hug and kiss in public.
Carson, I am ridiculously excited to watch you grow and learn in this upcoming year and the many (many) years of school that lie ahead of you. So go get ’em, buddy. The #2 pencils are waiting for you.