A letter to my daughter on her first day of school

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first day of school - letting child go - parenting

Sally Johnson

So here it is. The Big Day. The one we’ve been chatting about and shopping for and counting down sleeps until, for so many weeks now. That day is finally here. The first day of school. And now that it’s arrived I know that you’re ready to start your brand new adventure. I’m just not sure that I am.

As we got ready this morning there were so many things I wanted to say to you and so many things I wanted you to know.

As I shook you gently awake, I wanted to tell you that I’d miss you today. That I’d miss holding your hand as we walked along together to the shop or to feed the ducks. I wanted to tell you that part of me doesn’t want our lives to change and doesn’t want to let you go.

As I helped you dress in your new pinafore, I wanted to tell you how big you’ve become and how grown up you looked in your first school uniform. I still remember the day we brought you home from the hospital, this tiny little bundle asleep in your car seat. And in the blink of an eye you’ve become this beautiful young girl standing in front of me, ready to start a new chapter.

As I helped you pack your school bag I wanted to tell you that I know you’ll make friends. You’re kind and funny and loyal and my favourite person in the world. But I know you’re also shy and quiet in new situations. And that’s OK. You’ll find your way, my love, even if everyone else seems to be confident and chatty and to have tons of friends already. Just be you. That’s enough. And you’ll find friends who will be lucky to know you like I do.

As I poured out a bowl of cereal I wanted to tell you that there might be people who say things that make you sad or who don’t let you join in their games. And I know that will hurt. I wish I could protect you from all the meanness in the world. But, whenever you’re sad know I’ll always be here, my love. To listen to you and to cuddle you and to make things better in any way I can.

As I fetched you a glass of orange juice, I wanted to tell you that you’re clever and smart. But you are also just a beginner and you should never feel worried if you don’t know how to do something. Please don’t ever sit in class with butterflies in your tummy because you’re too scared or worried to even start your work. Always ask, my sweet child.

As I helped you buckle up your new shiny shoes I wanted to tell you that as you learn new things you will also make mistakes and that’s ok. We all do and we all learn from them. Don’t be discouraged by them, take lessons from them and let them make you all the more determined to do it better next time.

As I helped you do up the buttons of your coat I wanted to tell you that the day might feel long. You might feel worn out by trying to listen and do everything right. And you might feel a bit fed up at the end of the day just because you’re so tired. It’s OK though, my sweet girl. You’ll soon learn all the rules and begin to relax and get used to your new school day. Just give it time and don’t be sad if you feel a bit jiggered at first. It will all be OK.

As we walked hand in hand towards the school gates I wanted to tell you that I was not ready to let go. That I have loved every moment of the last five years with you, my favourite little person by my side. And I know that from today our lives will change forever and we can never have that time together back again. But I feel like the luckiest Mummy in the world watching you grow up into the funny, smart, beautiful, gentle little girl you are today. I hope everyone who meets you today sees the goodness in you like I do.

As I kissed you and waved goodbye I put the biggest smile on my face and held back the tears that were threatening to fall. I told you simply to have a lovely day and that I loved you. And that was enough.

Enjoy your adventure, my darling.

Love, Mummy

first day of school - letting child go - parenting