by William Treger
Dear Jo, you are 5 years old and cannot read this yet. But maybe you will read it next year, once you complete kindergarten.
Mommy and daddy are very proud of you. You are an amazing little girl, full of energy and spunk. You make us laugh. We often look at you and say to one another, “I can’t believe we made this thing!”
Next week, we are going to put you on the bus for elementary school with your older brother and sister, all three of you on the same bus, to head off to “big girl school.”
You will be great. Mom will take out the camera. We will walk you to the other side of the court and stand with the other children and parents. We’ll snap photographs, wait anxiously for the bus to come. Will you go right on the bus, or will you squeeze our hands? Either way is fine. We will be there to talk you through it.
We know you will do well. You’ll have a new teacher, you’ll make new friends and you’ll start to learn all kinds of things like math and reading.
This is a mommy and daddy saying, but you are really growing up fast. Sometimes, after days go past, it hits us, when we look back and see how quickly our little ones have grown big.
You are still very young, though with your move into kindergarten, mommy and daddy go from having two big kids and a little kid (you) to having three big kids.
Jo, it’s clear to us there is no way to tell you to stay little, with Hannah and Charlie making growing up seem like so much fun. Charlie plays with his friend Kofi and rides his bike in the cul-de-sac; Hannah writes words and does hair. Soon, you will be biking through the cul-de-sac, and soon, you will be keeping a journal.
You could stay at the kitchen table and continue coloring butterflies. I could pick you up from preschool in the evenings and we could run to Candy Kitchen, to get more of those fried egg gummy candies you like.
At night, we can sit on the stoop with Mary and pet her dog Major, we can do puzzles together, play mini-golf, go fishing, go swimming up at the pool.
I reminisce about all the fun we have had so far, and there is so much more to come.
Time moves forward, and you are going to be a great kindergartener. You will get off the bus on that first day and go into a big classroom. There will be a lot of boys and girls your age. You will meet your teacher and look at all the bulletin boards across the room, filled with letters and numbers and pictures and maps. A whole new world that changes every day, you will see.
You know how in the basement, in daddy’s office, we have bulletin boards with your artwork. There will be many bulletin boards for your artwork at school. You will color and draw and put your work all over the bulletin boards, all over the school. You will eat lunch with friends in a big cafeteria and you will have “chew time,” when you are supposed to stop talking and start chewing. You will have good food to eat in your Froggie lunch box.
Your mother and I know you will adapt well. At night, at the dinner table, you can tell us about your days. You can tell us what you learned, different things your teacher taught you about the planets and the environment and reading. You will soak up all this new information.
And, the moment you have been waiting for: homework! You won’t have much at first, but you have seen your brother and sister do it and have wanted the chance to try some, too. Your teacher will give you some dittoes with words to work with, to help you learn how to read. You can do these at your pink table-topper and go over the answers with mommy and daddy. We will all learn new things together.
Jo, sweetheart, our eyes are on you; this is a good thing, no pressure.
Have a terrific time in K, babe, a fun, fun time, and make the most of all your chances for learning, being nice, and sharing, now and in whatever you want to do, in K-12 and beyond.