It seems like just yesterday that I was writing a letter to your older brother and I am still having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that it is your turn. Facebook popped up memories of your Kindergarten graduation and I about became a puddle. I still remember that day vividly. You, our shy introvert, had a speaking part in the program and we were so excited to see you shine. Those pictures will forever make me smile when I see them.
“The smiles would grow on our face, when we tackled something new. You could watch our sparkling eyes light up and our teacher’s eyes glisten too.”– Parker & Kate – TCE Kindergarten Graduation
When I wrote a letter to your big brother, everything felt more uncertain, more unknown. It doesn’t feel that way now, we have been down this road already, but it doesn’t make this day any less monumental for you. While the next steps seem less scary, I have to remind myself that your little mind and heart are still processing a lot of change.
Your “clap out” is happening today. A tradition that I am glad the school hung on to, despite all the weirdness of this year. I have a strong feeling that there will be some tears brewing behind those eyes, but I doubt you will let them show. You present as strong and steady, but I have seen some of the impact of the microfractures of this year (or better coined “emotional concussions”). There were the quiet disappointments of all the activities that never took place. I know you knew you were missing them, because you saw your big brother get to experience them, but despite the fact you still found joy in every day. Keep finding that joy.
A baseball batting coach called you “smiles” instead of Parker and it stuck. In a year where the world tried to hide kids’ identities… you held firmly to that smile and flashed it whenever and wherever you could. You have now idea how much such a simple act like that can change someone’s day, but that quality makes us proud.
A few things that we want you to know:
Middle school is not unknown, it is not even scary, it is actually a lot of fun.
Leaving the safe nest of your elementary bubble is not unknown either, we have navigated it now and you have a big brother there to help.
You are ready.
You are actually more than ready.
You will rock middle school.
You have had an amazing group of teachers over the past few years and especially a team that fought hard for you when the world went nuts. The amount of time and effort poured into you and your class is a priceless experience in all the chaos. Your dad and I are beyond grateful for that.
You have a core group of friends that are LIFE GIVING. Don’t ever take that for granted. I pray you realize how special they are.
Your core group of friends are also full of far too creative minds, this will get you into some trouble. Be a leader, when you make a bad choice, own it. Learning from your mistakes, can be the best life teacher.
You found strength in responsibility and learned quickly that prioritizing your time and working efficiently were always worth it.
You didn’t complain about the missed events. You rolled with the punches and I am sure you are more resilient now. I hate that you had to become more resilient, but like we always say, you can’t control what happens around you, but you can be responsible for your response. Your character is what matters.
Remember that it is okay to show cracks, to be vulnerable. It’s what you do with the cracks, how you handle your attitude that matters.
You had a lot of “life” conversations this year. We talked a lot about leading and not being a follower. Never be afraid to ask questions even if it goes against the majority, keep asking, keep seeking truth. Remember, it is okay to be uncomfortable.
The important thing is to never stop questioning.– Albert Einstein
I pray you learn how to understand yourself better and that you know when you need to unplug and recharge. Being an introvert is not a bad quality, even if it feels like it, since most of your friends are extroverts.
Parker Tomás, you are my gritty child. The one that will alway give 110% and then gives a little more. This quality will serve you well as you move on to your next adventure. Don’t ever lose that fight. That is a defining quality that makes you you.
Your dad and I couldn’t be more proud of you. Your kind heart is a special gift. Guard it wisely.
So today on your last day of elementary school, remember your kindergarten lines, fire up that smile and remember it’s okay if those eyes are glistening because your mom’s eyes are glistening too.