You haven’t been yourself the last week. You seem angry and upset. The other day I finally picked you up and brought you upstairs so we could be alone. We cuddled in bed and as I hugged you close, I said that we needed to talk. I would ask you questions and you could answer just by shaking your head either yes or no. You haven’t been talking lately so this was my attempt to get you communicating with me.
Are you upset about not being up at the cabin anymore? Head nods no.
Are you upset about going back to school soon? Head nods no.
Are you upset about not seeing mom as much when you go back to school? Head nods yes.
You began to tear up, and rubbed your eyes discretely as though you didn’t want me to see. Your back was facing me so you couldn’t see me cry either.
I asked if you’d like to have lunch at home some days (my way of spending more time with you during the week). You seemed happy about that and I felt relieved. Relieved because you let me into that little head of yours just enough to understand how you’re feeling right now.
Tate Tate, I love you so much. There are days where I think you should be home with us. And I know the first week, I will keep looking in the back seat for you – as we drive to the beach or out to run an errand. I will miss you. I will miss your questions and our chats.
And I know that you learn so much at school. You are now able to write your first and last name so legibly. You even want to include your middle name now. You can add things in your head and your drawings are becoming quite detailed. You are very observant.
You have a great little mind. You’re the first to ask why the cement truck driving in front of us has a hook on the chute and the one at the window watching the house across the street get their metal roofing installed. You also tried to convince me the other day that we could turn the bunk bed into a three person bed by suspending a bed for your sister in between you and your brother. You had a whole plan worked out for how to secure it to the underside of your mattress. I love how you think.
And I’m worried about you going to school. I remember what it was like last September – watching your bottom lip quiver while you stood in line with your classmates. You wouldn’t take your eyes off of me. You were trying so hard to hold it together and not cry. And the day you burst into a loud sob and held desperately onto my legs (so not your usual behaviour) – it took everything for me to not cry along with you. I waited until you went into the school and we rounded the corner of the building on our way home. I could have worn sunglasses the first month of school to hide my red and watery eyes.
I’m also worried about how the Henry’s will treat you (Henry B pinches you and Henry K says unkind things to you). I hope that I will teach you to communicate with them and with your teacher. I want you to love school and to stay curious. School should be a place you are excited to go.
So tonight we will pack your bag and talk about the morning. We will take your first day of school photo and I will do my best to smile and encourage you. And I’ll probably still be teary as I leave the schoolyard without you. Maybe we’ll have lunch together tomorrow.
I love you so much, Tate. I’ll miss you.
Last year’s letter to Tate: First Day of JK.