Tuesday, October 19, 2004

In Pre-K Forever

My Dear Baby Girl,

Tonight, as you were going to sleep, you told me that you don't ever want to be a teenager…that you want to stay in Pre-K forever…that you don't ever want to be a grown-up and that you want to be a kid forever.

I explained to you that many kids want to stay kids forever, but as you grow up, you see how exciting life is and how you can't wait to get to "the next step". For this reason, you should enjoy every day and thank God for the chance to live it.

That's what I said on the outside.

On the inside, I was thinking how much I sympathize with you. I was thinking about how badly I wanted to be kid again sometimes…how lovely it is that your biggest problem is that you can’t get a new toy today or that it‘s raining out so you can‘t ride your bike, but that these things seem, at the very least, earth shattering.

I wanted to tell you how cruel school aged children can be…how you should treat everyone kindly and hope for kindness back in return. I wanted to tell you how, though it may seem this way at one point, that the world really will not crumble because the boy you like isn't very nice to you, or because you have too much homework to go out and play.

I wanted to tell you how big the transition from grade school to high school is, to tell you that it will blow your mind how big the world really is when you go from 8th grade to 9th.

I wanted to tell you how hard being a teenager really is sometimes…how lonely a place it can be.

I wanted to explain to you that you should always be yourself, not a second-rate version of someone else, and that you should never do anything just to make someone or some people like you or just to be considered popular.

I wanted to tell you how gossip and heartache run rampant in high school…and I wanted to promise you that you can get it through it, no matter how impossible it seems at the time.

I also wanted to tell you not to fall in love too easily or not to fall in what you think is love, anyway. Don't rush things, you've got plenty of time for boys and relationships and love. Have fun, but be careful. And don’t ever settle because you think you don’t deserve better.

I wanted to tell you that there are mean people in the world and though you can't always see them right away, trust your gut. It will guide you in the right direction.

Finally and most importantly, I wanted to tell you how wonderful it is growing up and being a part of your life as the days go by. Don't just watch, participate. Get in there, and get your hands dirty. You won't regret the things you did as much as the things you didn't.

Then I remembered you’re 4 and couldn‘t grasp all of this. So, I kissed you good night, told you how much I loved you and what a wonderful little kid you are.

And I told you to please believe me…when the time comes and you're all grown-up, fall in love, maybe get married, and have children…you will be so glad you didn't stay in Pre-K forever.