Maybe it’s because you draw me rainbows when I’m sad. Or use your entire body to stir the banana bread batter.
It’s probably because you put veggies in the shopping cart and ask for hugs and brush my hair.
You’re also the only kid that lets me play my own music in the car. And you know when it’s appropriate to raise the roof during a dance party.
You bring the boys water bottles on the swing set and remember to pet our dog. Even when she smells like a garbage can.
You see the goodness—in everything—before the stink. Always. On the puppy. On your brothers, and your dad. Especially, on me.
There are so many reasons I don’t want you to leave for kindergarten. My middle child. My sunny little clone. My calm between the storms of two crazy brothers.
It’s going to be so different without you here every day.
But I’m not worried about you. The little ray that makes friends at zoo camp, gymnastics and checking out at Target. You’ll be just fine.
It’s me that’s going to struggle.
Stuck at home with your sticky, adorable brother. Who throws shoes and calls everyone at the grocery store a ‘penis head.’
You won’t be there to shield me from embarrassment. As I contemplate abandoning the shopping cart and pretend to be his nanny. We won’t laugh about it the entire ride home wiping tears from our eyes. Because you won’t be there to share it with me.
There won’t be glitter on every single shopping bag as I unload them from the car. For a craft or a Shopkins jewelry kit that you talked me into buying. Because I’ll have to go to Target with just your baby brother and get boring stuff that’s actually on the list.
I’m going to miss you during his naptime. Just the girls curled up in the corner of the couch. Your little head resting gently on my shoulder while we watch princess movies. The G-rated ones where everyone has perfect eyelashes and no parents, and a prince who looks great in lederhosen.
I’ll probably start drinking tea. The real kind that grown-ups do out of a pretty little cup. Because you won’t be there to set the table. The pot won’t be pink, or sing, or make pretend bubble noises. It’ll just pour stupid tea.
There won’t be cupcakes every other day with an absurd amount of sprinkles. All over the kitchen counters, the oven and stuck to the bottom of my feet. Because you won’t be there to give me a scrunchie-nosed excuse to eat sweets whenever I feel like it.
But it’s your voice I’m going to miss the most. That high-pitched little mouse that speaks so fast and uses so many words at a time, that I wonder if you’ll ever stop talking. All the details you take in and share about places and people are the little things that almost everyone misses.
I’m going to wonder if you’ll miss me. If I did enough to make you realize how much I love you. How you’re my best friend in the entire world. How hard I pray you don’t end up replacing me with a Sloan or a Parker or some other girl who wears lip-gloss and Uggs to school.
Friends will come and go. But I’ll always be your mama. The one who cuts the crust off your sandwiches. The one who paints your tiny toes. The big spoon that curls up beside you in your twin bed at night.
It’s still okay to need me.
You’re still my little girl.
Who loves unicorns. Who holds my hand when we walk into Justice. Who is still too young to wear crop tops or a sports bra to cheer practice. Even if “everyone else does.”
Because you weren’t designed to be like the others.
But I know in my heart that this is the part where it starts to go really fast. The weeks, the holidays, the grades, the years. The days will move slowly, but you will grow a little more every time you come back to me.
And who am I to stand in your way. To shade you from the rain. The friends you will make at lunch that will love your silly stories. The teachers who will enjoy your sunshine six hours a day, five days a week.
Kindergarten is all about learning to share. So I’ll be a good mom and go first. I’ll let go of your tiny little hand and watch your Wonder Woman backpack fade into the distance. I’ll try to hold my elephant tears until I make it to the parking lot. And drive away without you.
Because rainbows were meant to be shared.