August 31st, 2015
Dear Jeremy and Ayla,
As I write these words you are both asleep on the precipice of a new stage in both of your lives. For as long as either of you can remember, your lives have primarily been spent in the company of each other. In daycare you’ve been fortunate enough to be in a small, nurturing, and loving environment where at worst you represents a quarter of the children as a unit. In the summer, even when playing with other children you were 99.9999% of the time with each other–at family functions, playdates, or out on excursions in the world, you’ve been inseparable. Over this past summer season, Jeremy spent half days in the morning at pre-K camp, but even afterwards your afternoons were spent in a land of imagined play, art projects, parallel and cooperative television viewing, and great battles that the bards write poems of on the couch.
All that changes in the morning.
Tomorrow Jeremy goes to “big school” and Ayla will remain home with me until next week when we both go back to our respective schools (technically I start school for my doctorate on Wednesday and I go back to work on Tuesday, but lets not split hairs, eh?). As a teacher and a student, I know that each iteration of school uses, primarily the next, as the stick to train students behavior and achievement. I’ve often told my upper elementary school students that their antics won’t be tolerated in middle school, just as in high school I was told that they weren’t going to hold my hand in college; only now in my doctoral program heading towards the terminal degree in my field to I feel that I’m being evenly dealt with about the level of difficulty and expectation ahead (either that or I’m being lulled into a sense of false comfort).
Either way, for you, it has been long coming that you will make the jump into kindergarten. I’ve been priming you that your scatalogical humor isn’t going to cut it and we’ve moved away from calling the rocket ship and began saying that we “won’t send you to kindergarten”. I’ll let you in on the secret, Jeremy, we were always going to send you to kindergarten. Sorry for the ruse. Ayla, by the time you read this, I’m sure we’ll have done this as well. We’re not proud to lie to you, you know, but once in a while a white lie does the trick–ask any of the 20 something people running for President right now.
The truth is, both your mother and I are excited for this moment for both of you. Ayla will finally be able to shine on her own and have something all to herself. Not that Ayla would ever stand in anyone’s shadow, but she’s yet to have a stage all to herself. Jeremy, also gets to fly solo–no longer having to deal with the immediacy of your sister in the same room you’ll flourish even more.
Its hard not to feel nostalgic–the stab of watching you grow. I look at you both–individuals, sound of young mind, and curious and wonder “where are the babies?” Sunrise, sunset.
Yet, here we are. Ready to send you off to enter a world truly all your own Jeremy, with Ayla hot on your heels but surely and squarely in her own. A baby no more, you are set out into the Wonder Years–your mother always says you look like little Fred Savage…we’ll have to get you a Jets jacket. The magic of your childhood is upon you both with your babyhood well catalogued among the photos I didn’t lose in our latest hard drive crash and burn; we’ll happily look upon these days when we finally read these letters together.
I’m excited to watch you both grow and develop. Jeremy, who’s great adventure into the world of literacy begins, and Ayla who will likely be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company by Christmas.
We go to bed with babies and wake up with children. Off to this latest phase, upward and onwards (Excelsior).
PS: Today we had planned a nice outing to the zoo with Grandma Cheryl. As it turns out, there was no parking to be had because the U.S. Open was monopolizing every parking spot in Queens. We headed to Funstation which was likewise closed due to the school year beginning and the schedule changing. You both took this change of plan in stride and happily took a trip to the local library and Chinese Restaurant. We left with books for the Jewish High Holy Days and DVDs, which you guys call “records” for some reason. This is also a mark of maturity–rolling with the punches. Something you’re bound to learn–along with everything else you’ll need in life–in Kindergarten.