Our social media feed is full of parents trading ideas on what to pack for college. In honor of all of those who are taking a leap into the collegiate world, including Dr. Kardos’s own children, we share again the letter Dr. Lai wrote for her child the night before kindergarten. As Gretchen Rubin said, “the days are long but the years are short.” As time moves forward, your child’s transitions may differ, yet they still will feel the same.
As we sit, the night before kindergarten, your toes peeking out from under the comforter, I notice that your toes are not so little anymore.
Tomorrow those toes will step up onto to the bus and carry you away from me. Another step towards independence. Another step to a place where I can protect you less. But I do notice that those toes have feet and legs which are getting stronger. You’re not as wobbly as you used to be. Each time you take a step you seem to go farther and farther.
I trust that you will remember what I’ve taught you. Look both ways before you cross the street, chose friends who are nice to you, and whatever happens don’t eat yellow snow. I also trust that there are other eyes and hearts who will watch and guide you.
But that won’t stop me from worrying about each step you take.
Won’t stop me from holding my breath.
Just like when you first started to walk, I’ll always worry when you falter.
I smile because I know you’ll hop up onto the bus tomorrow, proud as punch, laughing and disappearing in a sea of waving hands. I just hope that at some point, those independent feet will proudly walk back and stand beside me.
Maybe it will be when you first gaze into your newborn’s eyes, or maybe it will be when your child climbs onto the bus.
I hold my breath each time you take a step.
Julie Kardos, MD and Naline Lai, MD
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