My daughter is currently the Student of the Week for her kindergarten class. This means several things, including the fact that she was sent home with a stuffed bear we are to tote around and then record, photographically and in prose, their joint activities. She also gets to sit at a special desk all week, bring in her favorite book (Iggy Peck, Architect), and have show-and-tell (Barbie). But tomorrow’s activity is the classroom reading (by the teacher) of a parent-written letter in celebration of the student. At first I struggled with this. Not because I couldn’t think of enough wonderful things to say about my exceptional child, but because I wasn’t sure what form the letter should take. Early attempts included a comically rhyming epistle that smacked of children’s storybook. I guess I was imagining her impossibly cute and perky kindergarten teacher reading it aloud in an animated fashion. Once I got over that, I wrote from the heart, but then immediately started to worry about my sentence structure (choppy) and my vocabulary (thankfully above kindergarten level). But in the end, this is who I am, saying how I feel, about who she is. And she is the girl she is somewhat because I am the girl I am. I decided to share the finished product here because I know that this scrap of paper in my handwriting, sent in her backpack to her teacher, is likely never to be seen again. And I want to save this for posterity. When we are in the throes of our greatest mother-daughter battles yet to come, I want to have this as a touchstone. A reference for her, and for me, of how I see her and how proud I am of her. Even when she is driving me crazy.
Dearest Harper Kate,
You are my darling middle child, the oldest daughter, the one with two jobs: younger sister and older sister. And I am proud of you.
You are sweet and kind, quick to help your baby sister with her dress-up clothes or to patiently help your brother sort Legos. And I am proud of you.
You are exciting to be around, funny and vivacious, bubbling over with laughter and smiling with bright, flashing eyes, you make even boring activities fun. And I am proud of you.
You are my drama queen, highs and lows of great extremes, you were born for the stage or screen. Whether singing, dancing, or playing a role, you are a shining star. And I am proud of you.
You are smart, so very smart. You love school, you love learning, you are exactly the kind of nerd I hoped you would be (the kind I used to be!) with a love of numbers and challenges, reading and words. And I am proud of you.
You are an athlete, a soccer star. Playing hard, but always fair, never giving up, quick feet, big kicks, and scrappy perserverance. And I am proud of you.
You are so beautifully creative, always drawing and creating art, never without markers or crayons to create beautiful things to share with others. And I am proud of you.
For all these things, I am so very proud to be your mom. I am so lucky you are mine. Because even when you are driving me crazy, I love you to the moon and back. You are my one and only, my much-loved, Harper Kate!