1st Grade

Dear Ellie,


Today is your first day of 1st grade. It feels so much easier than last year to know you will wake up, eat breakfast, put your clothes on and head out the door to school. I know more about this school thing and what it looks like. I’m thankful for that.


You, of course, are excited as ever. You have missed your friends and all that school is. You are planning to wear the same dress you wore the first day of kindergarten, though it is considerably shorter on you and you will need to wear leggings. It is still your favorite dress.


You learned how to read in kindergarten and now love LOVE to read. You proudly declare, to anyone who will listen, that you can read CHAPTER books. I love to walk by your room and see you cozied up with a book. I hope you always love to read and that you continue to be a life long learner. Books are such a gift.


What hasn’t changed about this year is that I will miss you. I have loved this summer with you at home. You and the boys have built endless forts, done 3,000 drawing/color fests (but seriously. What do we do with all of the masterpieces?), and of course had many many fights. I won’t miss the fights. I will miss the sweetness you bring, the good ideas you have, and just your presence.


You lost approximately 7 teeth over the summer, leaving your smile gappy and adorable. You also learned how to whistle (perhaps from the extreme tooth exodus?) Your eyes still reflect every emotion you feel and it’s so fun to watch you tell a story because you are so expressive.


You and Judah were in a wedding a few weeks ago and you had the best time. You both looked adorable in your wedding wear and you took your petal distributing job very seriously. At the reception they had lots of dancing which you and Judah also loved. You were out there with the other flower girl having a  wonderful time on the dance floor.


When the time came for the Parent/bride/groom dances I was in the back trying to keep Annalise quiet. She and I swayed at the back and I found myself glimpsing something that had such depths and that I had never noticed before. Parents saying goodbye to a season. I couldn’t actually look too long because the lump in my throat was so big.


It’s all so good! It’s so good and right for children to grow and become adults and get married. But as I stood there in the back, listening to the words of the song:


Never alone

Never alone

I’ll be in every beat of your heart

When you face the unknown

Wherever you fly

This isn’t goodbye

My love will follow you, stay with you

Baby, you’re never alone – Lady Antebellum


I had to turn away. This parenting thing is so crazy! The love I feel inside for you is so big. It’s such a gift to be your mama, to have this time with you. I can’t lose perspective in the everyday. I can’t forget that my time with you in this season is limited. I cherish you baby girl. So help me, I promise to let you go when the time is right.


I’m thankful I have some years before I have my turn watching you dance with daddy on that special someday. For now my heart can hardly handle the thought. And that’s okay. From now until then I’m going to LOVE this season the way you love reading chapter books. I’m going to soak in the sparkle in your eyes and the gaps in your teeth. I’m going to snuggle you close as much as I can and learn to trust Jesus even more as you have opportunities to fly.


I truly know that seasons are part of the beauty of life. This one feels wrapped around my heart in such a way that I can’t explain. I’ll embrace it. I’ll embrace the lump in my throat and the tears on my cheeks as I write this because it’s evidence of beauty of motherhood. Made to love and protect with our very breath. Made to raise them to fullness and step back and let them go. The diamond tears are okay, the beautiful hurt a memorial stone.


I love you baby girl. Maybe someday you will call me as your baby heads out the door to school and you and we can laugh and cry together and I will tell you it’s okay to cry, but it’s also so good to laugh and embrace the beauty of the moment.





Brave like you

Dear Ellie,

You start kindergarten 2 weeks from tomorrow. Yesterday we went on the much anticipated “girls of the house” shopping trip to buy your school things. (your words) You kept saying in the days leading up to it “I CAN’T WAIT TO GO SHOPPING!” your brown eyes sparkling with excitement, and you counted the sleeps down.

Yesterday morning I woke up feeling heavy. There is a very real grief I feel inside as I look at the weeks ahead and see the change that is coming. Our mornings will look different as we will start waking you up early so you can be at school by 8:30. Of all of our kids, you tend to sleep the latest, so waking you up will be a new thing. You are such a help to me sweet girl. I know I count on you more then I know and I will miss your presence during the day. I cried silent tears while getting ready yesterday.

We did have a fabulous time you know. Us girls. Annalise wore a bow in honor of the occasion and you looked adorable in your jean skirt and fairy top. When did your legs get so long? My precious pudgy baby has turned into a tall beautiful girl.

The girls of the house
The girls of the house

We first went to walmart where we perused the school supply aisles and did several circles around the store trying to find everything on our list. Did I mention that you made your own picture shopping list? On it were underwear, disposable bento boxes and hair ties. You did lovely pictures complete with check boxes. After a somewhat exhausting round at Walmart where I decided shopping online would be more efficient, we headed to the mall. We were hungry so we hit “Red Robins” first. (Again your words. You also call McDonalds “Old McDonalds” and commercials “commercianals” and I love it so much) They sat us in the smallest booth they had, but you wanted to sit on the same side, so we snuggled in while Annalise slept in her carseat. You ordered pizza and fruit salad (first time varying from your mac and cheese routine at Red Robin) and we chatted while we waited for our food. You told me you were the most excited to do art projects at school. When our food came you lounged quite comfortably almost laying down in our tiny seat, which was quite a feat. You were very pleased with your pizza, insisting i try a bite and then asking me if I would order it next time for myself because it was so delicious.

Red Robins
Red Robins

After eating, we headed into the mall. Old Navy had adorable dresses as did H&M. I offered you 2 adorable dress choices and you couldn’t choose. You asked me to give you a horrible dress option and an adorable dress option to make the choice easier. I couldn’t find a horrible enough option as everything was adorable, so you finally chose the black and white striped swing dress and declared it your favorite purchase of everything we bought.

On the way out we went back through H&M to take the elevator back down and you BEGGED to ride the escalator. I had Annalise in the stroller so I couldn’t ride it – so we decided you could ride it alone. We talked through getting off and where to go to run around to the other side so you could come back up. I promised I would be at the top when you came up. You were beyond excited and didn’t hesitate for a second getting on. Your technique was slightly terrifying as you didn’t actually reach up to hold on as you were stepping on. You wobbled for a second as you adjusted to the movement and then reached for the rail. I sighed with relief and then powered over to the other side to watch your progress. You got off at the bottom and dashed around like a pro. I lost sight of you for a few breath-taking seconds and then there you were, coming up the other side BEAMING. You were so proud. And I had tears in my eyes and had to turn away so that I could greet you with a smile.

This is so hard for my heart and yet I know its good and right. I won’t hold you back baby. Because I know you are ready. I know you have got this. I know it would be unhealthy to freeze time like I sometimes long to do. Freezing time would leave us stagnant, unable to grow, and grow we must. What I want you to know is that you are brave, and good at loving people. You are a leader and amazing at creating. This mama heart wants you to do all that you were created to do. And that will mean letting you go to do it.

As we walked out of the mall we were discussing the escalator trip and how fun it was and I mentioned to you that it was a little scary for me. You asked why and I tried to explain. It went something like this.

“When you were born you were teeny tiny and couldn’t do anything for yourself. Mommy took care of you and fed you and kept you safe as much as she could. But as you grow you are able to do more things and now part of mommies job is to let go so you can do new things.”

and the conversation continued in my head.

“Mommy has to trust that though she loves you more than she can say, she is learning to entrust you to the One who loves you more. It’s so good. It feels physically painful right now. But I bet a few months in it will feel normal. You will come home and tell me about your day and all the new things you are doing and learning and I will listen with excitement.”

This new season will hold so much goodness. I can’t wait to see what Jesus has ahead for you and me. Please know your mama loves you and i’m going to be brave two weeks from tomorrow as you run forward with no hesitation. I will be brave like you.