dear jude.

I haven’t written in a while. I regret it. But life gets busy and things have changed.

A few weeks ago you finished your first year of school: kindergarten. There’s no way for me to accurately express how proud Daddy and I are of you. You have changed so much since the beginning of the school year. You’ve grown physically and emotionally and I’m just so PROUD of who you are becoming. You started the school year very nervous and timid and ended with so much confidence. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.

Looking back on your kindergarten experience, a few things stick out to me. On the first day of school, Daddy and I walked you to your classroom and you were such a champ. You hung up your bag and started playing. That was it! We waved goodbye and I breathed a sigh of relief. The second day was a different story.

On the second day of school, Lucy and I walked you to the entrance. At that point, you were expected to walk to your room by yourself. In your eyes, this was not part of the deal. You were terrified. I don’t blame you a bit, you had to walk down a hallway, enter another long corridor and walk through four classrooms before reaching your own. That’s scary! So Mrs. Erickson, the guidance counselor, was there and could tell you were struggling. I did my best to convince you to go ahead, but you didn’t. Mrs. Erickson took us into her office and we talked for a minute. You started to cry as I attempted to break away from you. I cried, too. Lucy stared. Eventually, Mrs. Erickson literally had to rip you away from my arms as I made an escape. I walked towards the doors as you yelled repeatedly “Just one more hug!” It was horrific. I went to work that day. I cried a lot as I replayed the mornings events in my head and worried about how you were doing. I got several texts and emails from school telling me that you had recovered fine. What a day!

From that point on, the first few months of school were a struggle. Every morning was hard. Mrs. Erickson walked you to your classroom each morning until finally you were brave and did it all on your own. I was so proud on that day. And from that point on, you continued to grow and change into a confident boy who truly enjoyed school and had tons of friends. I volunteered at lunch a few times a week and was always shocked at how many kids you knew that weren’t even in your class! You were totally yourself with your friends which made me so happy. Ms. DeBeck praised you over and over about how much you had grown and learned.

At the beginning of the school year your class did a poetry project. It was about picking apples with friends. Every student had to draw 5 friends and write their names down on their poem. Ms. DeBeck said that every single student in your class had chosen you as one of their friends.

That is so huge, Jude! I know I tell you this all the time, but being a good friend is so important. I think you’ve got the basics down, that’s for sure. I was able to watch you interact with your classmates a lot and you were definitely loved by everyone. You really bonded with Isaac, the son of a friend of mine from high school. You guys were connected at the hip! You picked a good best friend. Shelley, Isaac’s mom, told me that Isaac couldn’t have chosen a better best friend. I totally agree.

At the end of the school year you had a field trip to the beach. I wanted to go, but also wanted you to try to go without me there, to prove to yourself that you’d be fine! And you were, of course. You bonded so hard with your little friends this year…I knew you’d be fine. You had fun and apparently loves riding on the bus because from that day in you begged me to let you ride the bus…something you hadn’t done and had previously been a scary thought for you. So, the last three days of school you rode the bus in the morning. It helped that Lillie was riding as well, so you guys sat together. You weren’t nervous at all and loved it!

Ms. DeBeck told me one day that she had chosen you to receive an end of the year award. It was the McGraw Paw Award and went to a kid from each kindergarten class who best displayed respect, responsibility, caring, honesty and safety. She said she was so proud of how far you had come since the beginning of the year and what a great little guy you are. You were so deserving of this acknowledgement and I was just overflowing with happiness for you. I went to the assembly when they called your name and recognized your hard work and it was one of the best moments ever.

In other news, you have another little brother or sister coming in December. You are so excited! You often rub my belly and talk to the baby. It is so sweet. You want a boy, of course.

I love you, Jude! I love who you are becoming. We still have our moments, that’s for sure, but I’m so proud of the progress you’ve made as a 6 year old. Biggest year yet!

Mama

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