It’s a little shocking to see you in your hipster glasses and big First Grade desk, ready to tackle a year of spelling tests and fast facts. You’re the baby of our family, and we would all probably feel most comfortable if you needed us to keep wiping your nose until you’re 22.
But it’s only partly true to call you the baby of our family. You are also the smoothest one of our family. You made the first day of school look easy, like you’re in a commercial for how to rock First Grade. You are exactly like your dad in this way. Everything looks effortless when you do it, Nate. Hanging up your backpack, scooting your chair up to this big desk, tackling Morning Work. No problem. People love to watch you because of your swagger, because you make life look fun.
Except to the few of us who know you best. We know that your smoothness comes because you hate to disappoint anyone. If your teacher says you need to write neater, you will double your efforts to write perfectly evenly spaced words. If she has to remind you twice to remember your homework, you’ll check three times to make sure it’s in your backpack. Struggling or failing are not options for you. You seem to know what you’re capable of accomplishing–and you absolutely refuse to settle for less.
First Grade will present some pretty tough challenges, though. You’re the youngest kid in your class and sometimes those almost-seven-year-olds will get how to color in the lines faster than you do. The teacher will be happy with them, and you might struggle, and you will want to cry not doing it exactly right the first time is hard for you. And because this is part of growing up.
This letter is your permission slip to be honest about how you’re struggling. It’s your giant okay to always forever and ever tell me how you’re really doing.
Nate, I would be honored to be the one to remind you how incredible you are, how loved you are, and how important you are to our family and, especially, to God.
And, yes, I will always be honored to be the one who wipes your nose. Even though you totally don’t need that.