My Dear Kindergartner,
Just last month, Daddy and I took turns running next to you, our fingers tucked under your pink princess bicycle seat as we yelled, “Look where you want to go!” You leaned too far left. You overcorrected. You took your eyes off your path and fearfully veered toward the overgrown rhododendrons. You found your sweet spot. And between our cheers and shallow, panting breaths, you kept hearing us say, “Look where you want to go!”
Today, the same sidewalk crunches golden heart leaves as your pink bike anticipates your return from a long day of kindergarten. Summer has vanished like your preschool years; time rolls on holding hopeful promises in one hand and sweet memories in the other.
Remember earlier this summer when you and I stopped to admire the magenta hydrangea by the town center fountain? I told you not to pick the flowers. Never one to resist beautiful things, you plucked one anyways. Tried to hide it too. We walked all the way home mad at each other. I wanted you to follow directions and listen to me. You wanted to listen to your heart, to carry delight in your hand.
Baby girl, holding beauty close is always worth a consequence. And, sometimes, your heart must trump the rules.
I want to keep walking next to you, holding your hand, whispering: Look where your heart is, it’s where your art lives, it’s where you want to go.
You colored a picture a few weeks ago – a puppy made of rainbows. It turned out different on paper than it had looked in your mind. You wanted to give up, start over, believe the lie that there is one right way. But, together, we made a beautiful oops out of it. You smiled, folded it into a pocket-sized imperfect square, and gave it away as a gift.
I want to keep coloring next to you, cheering: Ride into the beautiful oopses, little one. When you work with your mistakes, instead of against them, you’ll turn them into gifts. You’ll go where you want to go.
I heard you laugh in your sleep just days ago. The next morning, I asked you about it. You said you were dreaming funny things. Something about a banana dancing in a dress.
I want to keep laughing next to you, holding your beautiful smile, repeating over and over again: Pay attention to your dreams that are crazy enough to make you laugh out loud. Hold on tight and believe they will come true. This, baby girl, is the stuff of life-giving joy. Hold on tight and look there.
Today, I stopped my tears as I watched you fearfully let go of my hand, turn around and breathe in brave to walk through your classroom door. You wanted to stay – on the sidewalk, with me.
I wanted to hold you longer. I wanted to stay too. Right there in the rain with you.
But I pointed away from me, to a new place that holds the promise of art and dreams and beautiful oopses and said, “Look where you want to go, big girl.”