» Kindergarten Countdown

I sent my first child off to kindergarten 4 years ago. I watched many mommas say goodbye with tears and lamenting Facebook posts. I, on the other hand, said goodbye with a pep in my step. I knew Elliott was ready and I knew he was going to have a great time. I also had two in preschool and one on the way home from China. My plate was full. I’m also a work outside the home momma and did not have to return home to an empty house.

A short 4 years later all my babies are home and in various grades at school. Our youngest is finishing up preschool and kindergarten is just months away for him. And I’m a bit of a mess over it. No one warns you what it’s like to let the baby go to real school. Sure, he’s been in preschool for some time now. But it’s sweet and small and special. He plays a lot and get smiley faces. Real school is big time. It means the baby is gone. It also means I have to grow up too. No more he’s the baby passes. I admit… it’s probably awesome being the youngest. I didn’t experience it myself but I do recognize the special treatment one receives as the last one with a little baby in them. Not special in a way that lets him out of consequences, but special in a way that gets extra drinks of water at bed time or more snuggle time. Because man… that kind of stuff just won’t last forever.

Letting go is an art I need to learn. And motherhood is teaching me. Girls, this is way more than I ever expected! My kids are growing fast, they are moody, they are needy and they are so unique and wonderful. I’m never ready for the next stage to start because what we are in is so good! This day, this month and this year will never happen again. And while, at times, I want to beg time to slow down I also can’t wait to experience all the other stages of mothering my kids. It’s a tug of war. Torn between anticipation of who they will be and the desire to rock them to sleep until they are 15.

I might if they will let me.

As our family approaches our last preschool graduation and kindergarten…. I have some thoughts for you, Liam. Thoughts that will also be written on paper for that special box I keep for each of you.

Buddy I remember where I was when I got a call about you. We had been waiting a couple years to know who you were. We were praying too. I was really, really ready to know you. And when I wasn’t expecting it my phone rang on a regular morning while I was playing with Elliott and Charlotte. They were so little at the time, just babies. Our family coordinator was on the phone and she told me that she wanted to tell me about a baby boy. I was so surprised because you were so little! We had given away many of our baby things because we thought you might be 2 or 3 year old… but no… when we got the call you were just 3 months old. I stared at your picture and printed a dozen copies for our home. We began to plan for you and anticipate meeting you for the first time. The next time I got a call I happened to be in Haiti. We didn’t expect to travel so quickly! I had to fly home and get to Ethiopia as fast as I could. Daddy and I were so excited… the long flight seemed even longer than usual!

We had to leave after just a week with you. We didn’t know when we would get to bring you home. The wait was so much harder after we held you. After we saw your eyes light up when we tickled your tummy. You were so completely our son and we were so completely your parents. God gives many good gifts in life and you are one of our greatest. Thankfully, as you know, Nana and I got to bring you home just 8 weeks later. You were pretty sick, very sick actually, and I petitioned a lot of important people to help us get you home quickly. We didn’t sleep much that week, in Ethiopia, I was worried and you needed a lot of care. The plane ride home was very scary but very joyful once we arrived home and knew things were going to be okay.

Liam, how we came together as a family sounds pretty adventurous at times. And you, my son, are definitely an adventure. You keep us on our toes. I don’t think anyone moves or dances as much as you do. But adventure isn’t our glue. It’s not what makes us a family. We are a family because we work hard every day, together. God gave us to each other and we honor him by doing our best. Buddy, every single day I wonder what I can do to help you be your best. And every day you show me the biggest, fullest love. I know life will give you a lot of questions down the road. I know everything in your life doesn’t make sense. And with every big step forward, like starting school, there will be more that we need to talk about. But we are ready for all the big and hard. There is beauty and there is brokenness… and those things make life what it is. I’m ready to walk all of those roads with you. It’s such an honor to be your mom. I know God made me just the way I am to be just the mom you need. It makes me confident that all of our pieces will fit together even if the puzzle is a bit difficult to work at times.

We have a few more months to get ready for the big K and it’s going to be so much fun. I know you’ll be ready. And I know this will be my hardest send off yet.But you’ll always be the baby. The one who changed my heart and shaped it to love in new ways.

About the author


Erica is an advocate for simplicity, family time, making a cozy home and loving others well. She is the community coordinator for One Orphan, the orphan care ministry of America World Adoption Association. Erica and Calvin have four young children; Elliott, Charlotte, Lola and Liam. They currently reside in Nashville, TN.

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