Yesterday was your first day of First Grade!! It has been such an exciting time - for all of us. Once again, you and I went to school the weekend before the first day to leisurely take our "fake first day of school" pictures. It has now become our little tradition to do that - and it's so much fun!
I love laughing with you through these pictures and having our heart to heart talks.
A week ago, when we went to your first grade classroom open house, you were nervous - I could tell. You grabbed my hand in the parking lot and held it tight all the way in...up the stairs...down the hall...and to your desk. Secretly, I was glad you did. I was nervous, too! I wondered if your nerves would stick until the first day - but they were exchanged with excitement.
Brian, I want you to know how proud I am of you. When I look through my camera lens to take these special pictures, I often see your little life like a movie right inside my camera. I can see pictures of me holding you in the hospital after you were born - of you and Gavin face to face for the first time - of your Daddy making you giggle and laugh - your first foods, your first steps, your first words, your first vacation, your first day of preschool... burying your brother... meeting your sister... and then Kindergarten... and now, this. Your first day of First Grade.
The two of us are connected in a way that only we understand. I feel so honored to hold all of the deep thoughts and feelings you share with me and I promise to always respect you - and those personal moments.
You amaze me every single day with your thoughtfulness, your good behavior, your sense of humor and your intelligence. This Summer has been filled with lots of time together - and a major life event...our new house! You handled the move and now the start of first grade like you handle everything: with a great attitude and a huge smile.
But I am still your Mommy and it's my job to worry about you! I'll worry that you're focusing and listening well in school. I'll worry that you forget to eat half of your lunch because you're laughing with your friends. I'll worry that you forget important things I've told you - like not falling into group behavior and following along like a little sheep. You're a Leong... and a Gallagher... we don't do that! I'll worry that you're not sticking up for yourself - or others - or speaking up when you're afraid or need help. I will worry because I love you... not because I don't trust you. You have shown me already how strong and trustworthy you are, believe me.
You would think that I would feel excited that I'll have more free time - but I will miss you so much!! And so will Hope. We will watch the clock until it's time to meet you at the bus stop. And we'll always be so excited to hear about your day!! It will be hard for me to wait until Daddy gets home to pepper you with questions about what you did or what you learned or how you felt each day... but I'll try!
The two of us had two practice runs leading up to the first day. You got up with your alarm at 6:15, got dressed in your uniform and met me downstairs. We had breakfast, brushed teeth and were in the car headed to the corner by 7. Your bus is set to come at 7:06 each day. Our two dry runs went great!! I don't ever want to have our mornings rushed and hectic - that's no way to start a day. When the big day finally came yesterday, you were ready. With Hope still sleeping in her crib, Daddy and I wished you luck, reminded you who you were and gave you some big hugs.
Before we got in the car, you told me you were worried about Hope. "Poor Hope is going to wake up and wonder where I am! You'll remind her that I'm at school and that I'll be back, right? I don't want her to worry and miss me," you said.
The two of us stood at the new bus stop and before we knew it, we saw flashing lights and knew they were for you. We met your new driver, Pat, and I shook his hand and looked into his eyes with a smile that said, "I'm trusting you with my heart - please care for him like he's a member of your family." I think he got the message is what I told myself as I cried all the way back home. I mean he did call you "son" when he asked you to put your seatbelt on, after all.
When you got home at lunch time, you had so much to tell me. You were so bummed to see that your best buddy's desk had been moved from directly across from you to all the way across the room!! What a disappointment for you - but you took it well and were great about it. You even found something positive to say about it, which made me so proud!
It sounded like your teacher packed a lot into the first day. You practiced spelling words, learned about the United States flag, learned about inches and telling time and adding and even practiced handwriting.
You told me you had so much fun and you think that first grade is going to be great.
Soon we'll settle into a routine in the morning and afternoon and tackle homework and playtime and Hope time and everything else. The next eight years of school will be filled with challenges and fun and new experiences and some heartbreak, I'm sure. But you'll handle all of it. We'll keep reminding you to remember that you're a Leong - and you're strong and brave and kind and polite. But it will be you that will continue to show us who you really are.
Congratulations, First Grader!!
We love you, Brian!