No one told me it would go by so fast. No one warned me an August birthday and back-to- school activities in the same week would make me cry. And no one told me I would ever love you this much.
Tomorrow you start fifth grade. FIFTH GRADE – the level after fourth, but the one before MIDDLE SCHOOL. I can’t even say the words “sixth” and “grade” without choking up. I’m just warning you now that I’m a hot mess in the works.
Where did time go? Just yesterday I held you in my arms for the first time and dreamed big ideas for you. Now you’re engaging in shop talk with UC Berkeley paleontologists and balancing your own savings account. As you embark on fifth grade and kick off a great new school year, I have just a few favors to ask of you sweets.
Remember our mornings together when you would climb into our bed and ask me to hold your stuffed elephant Allie while you chattered away about Thomas the Train and asked me how we could save endangered arctic animals?
I can’t help you much with the exotic polar bear situation. And thankfully that costly train phase left the station a few years back. I’m sure I spent the equivalent of an Ivy League college fund. But we still have a lot to talk about, me and you. Sometime during the school year, when the moment seems right, grab a pop-tart, bring Allie and I’ll fluff the pillows. You can tell me all the latest about MineCraft and Jurassic Park. And I won’t fall asleep, I promise.
Gone are the days when we built complex forts in the living room using couch cushions as doors and blankets as rooftops. I have to admit, I saw a future for you in construction for a time there. That little panic room on the side of the dining room table was genius, by the way.
And this summer, I especially missed our picnics.
I never met anyone that appreciates indoor picnics like you. Truth is I know you plan our “outings” for the living room out of concern for my hysterical fear of bees. You’re just like your daddy, don’t ever change. Maybe this year, we can have another indoor picnic. I think the outdoor scenery wall art throughout our house still adds a nice touch to the event, don’t you think? OK, so no one really likes to dine with hungry wolves, I get it. But it’s all pretend, so just play along.
It’s better than the bees, trust me.
And after our picnic, we’ll build a fort that could withstand 90 evil monsters and 11 angry warriors. We’ll dress the dogs up – Jack in the Batman costume and Holly in Spiderman get-up. You get the Nerf guns and I get the broom and water bottle. We’ll save our pretend-mankind. Then we’ll eat ice cream for dinner and watch movies from our fort until 2 AM.
Remember that book you always made me read to you? <strong>One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish</strong>.
I know, when you were six years old, I told you I gave it away so I never had to read it aloud again. I said I was sorry. How could I know that was your favorite book? I had a weak moment.
I bought a new copy this weekend. Can we read it together one day this year?
And one last thing before I forget. Go slow this year. Savor every moment. Embrace challenges and seek adventure.
But please, make fifth grade last forever – or at least until I learn to say “middle school” without crying.