I watch as you walk ahead of me.............tan legs extending from your bright hawaiian themed skirt, blond hair swinging behind you, a bright blue headband topping you off.
You walk ahead - not behind, not beside - but ahead of me, almost running in your excitement to get back to school, to get back to friends, to get back to routine.
You are eager to show your brother the way. You show him his locker. You want to help put away his supplies. You greet your old teachers. You've been here, done this.
Because of you your brother isn't so scared, he's actually eager to go. He's heard stories of school. He's heard how much you love the teachers. You've sold him on the idea of recess, gym, computers, iPads, even reading. I love to see how eagerly he follows you and how much you relish showing him the way.
I can't believe that it was two short years ago that we tentatively walked into this building - all of us. We were nervous for you. You were nervous. We weren't quite sure how this whole school thing would go over. You hid behind us. You held our hands. You missed out on gym the first day because of a tummy ache - an ache that came from more than your tummy, I am sure.
You walk ahead. For all of us, my brave and lovely girl. You have set the tone in this family. School is a place to learn but it's also a place to love and be loved. The best thing I have heard yet from a teacher is that you are always the first to be kind, that you care for others in a way that goes beyond the ordinary. Oh how proud that made me! It's what we try to tell you, show you, teach you but what you end up teaching us, instead.
You've shown me, sweet girl, to friend the ones who aren't the same, who don't look like you.
You've taught me not to look for the safest, the easy but to show kindness to everyone.
You've shown me that kindness is not just a performance for others but a way of living in the every day.
You've taught me that patience is for everyone and not just when I feel like it or am having a good day.
I love that you are known not for your daddy the middle school teacher, your mommy the former first grade teacher or grandma the retired veteran of the school.........you are known for you, now. As Sofia Codispoti you have paved your own way, made your own name at that school that is now yours and yours to share with your brother this year.
I am so proud of you.
And if I forget to tell you tomorrow or my smile might seem a bit too big for a mama leaving her little ones for the first day...........I will miss you. This summer has been a wonderful one. It was a time of many trips, reading outside, hip-hop, swimming ALL ALONE (WOW), paddle-boating, picnicking, crafts and so many other adventures. You bring so much to our little family - you organize, you love on your brother and sister, you work hard, you entertain and you treasure the time that daddy and I spend with you.
I love you, sweet girl.
Happy Last Day of Summer.