Dear Nate….. (On Your First Day of Second Grade)


Oh, Nate, my dear boy. You are so excited for this year.

Daddy and I are excited for you too.  No doubt about it, Nate, Second Grade will be fun. We are so sure that this year will be your best yet–we are simply expecting it.

To be honest, I worry that we all expect too much from you We expect you to be good with everything. We  expect you to grow up too fast.

Your brother and your sisters definitely want you to grow up faster. They want you to understand their games immediately. They expect you to know how to rollerblade as well as they do, or how to tell a joke as well as a Fourth Grader does. They are quick to criticize you when you cry too easily or don’t understand the nuances of buying property in Monopoly.

I realize that Daddy and I expect a lot of you too. We snap at you when you don’t hurry up in the bathtub. Or when you take too long to eat your yogurt in the morning. We don’t mean to do this. I think we just forget that you are only seven.

The other day I found you reading a Berenstain Bears book. It’s an old book, one that your brother and sisters liked when they were in Second Grade. These days, you usually only read Captain Underpants or Diary of a Wimpy Kid. As I listened to you giggle at Papa Bear’s silliness, I realized we had skipped those books for you. When you started reading books about Greg Heffley in Middle School, we let you go right ahead.

Nate, it’s in moments like this that I remember how young you really are. Even if you can tie your own shoes, and do your own homework, and ace spelling tests all by yourself, it doesn’t mean you should do all that by yourself.

Actually, I really love to help you with your shoes. I also like to study for spelling tests with you. And it feels so good to snuggle up and read with you. But in our busy family, we usually do what’s quickest and easiest. Because of this, many sweet moments with you get lost.

Let’s spend a little more time together this year. We can eat yogurt for breakfast and take our time doing it. Or, I can help you rinse when you can’t reach the shampoo on the back of your hair. Or, we can go for walks together and I can teach you important things–like why Boardwalk is worth more than Baltic Avenue.

And, of course, let’s read some more of those great second-grade books together.

The world smiles at you, my grinning blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy. I hope that you keep smiling back–just like the joy-filled seven-year-old you are.

I love you,










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