Friday, August 20, 2010

A Letter to Miss M, Starting Fourth Grade

Dear Miss M,
You are in fourth (FOURTH!) grade at the school you've attended since you were three years old and now one of the big kids on the playground all the little kids admire. At nine, you bake cookies and cakes on your own, kneeboard, fall in love with all the dogs you meet, sew, read entire novels, love music and math, and have a precocious sense of humor. You are enamored of glitter, nail polish, hair ribbons, and make-up. And basketball. Although you are by far the tallest girl in your class, you still have a childlike sweetness, and I think your gentle, soft-spoken ways are built into your very DNA because you've been that way--calmly observant--since birth. You seem to physically glow when paid the smallest of personal attentions and relish time at home and with your extended family. You are even learning to enjoy your spirited younger brother a bit, and I hope that means that, in time, you will be a comfort to each other.

Miss M, you are a wonderful, gifted girl, and I want you to know I am trying hard to rise to the task of being a good mother to you. "Be patient, Mom," you've been telling me lately, and although I don't like to hear it, part of that's because you're absolutely right: I could do with some more patience. You see, I want to communicate all I've learned to you, and while my impulse is to data dump--tell you everything I know about everything all at once--some things you need to explore and learn in your own time. So. Please be patient with me. This on-the-job training is tough on parents, and we don't always get it right. But underneath it all--all the fussing, planning, communicating, advising, worrying, challenging, and repeating--I hear you, and I will try to be more patient. And I hope you know that, no matter what, you are always, always my best girl. I'm so excited to see what the next year brings for you.

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