I wrote this post (of which you'll find an edited version below) nine years ago, yet so much of it still rings true today.
This morning, when I drop my seven-year-old off for his first day of second grade, I will also drop my five-year-old off for her first day of kindergarten.
What if another kid picks on or makes fun of her? What if she picks on or makes fun of another kid?
What if she is disrespectful to her teacher or bites a classmate and gets sent to the principal's office?
What if she has to eat lunch by herself or doesn't have anyone to play with on the playground?
What if she's picked last in gym? What if someone makes fun of her singing voice in music? What if she eats paste in art?
Truth be told, I'm less worried about sending Hallie to kindergarten than I was about sending Will to kindergarten. For starters, I've done this before. I feel comfortable in our elementary school, and I'm more than confident in the administrators', teachers', and staff members' ability and desire to educate, protect, and love on my kids.
Next, Will and Hallie are - obviously - unique individuals. Hallie is stubborn, fierce, and passionate. She is proud, confident, and independent. She knows who she is and where she's going, and she's sure as hell not going to let me - or anyone else - get in the way of either.
And last but not least, Hallie has Will in her corner. He may terrorize her - and she him - at home, but when out of my sight or care, more often than not he looks after, stands up for, and protects her like it's his job. Which it is, at least to a certain extent, as her big brother.
When I hug them and kiss them and send them off to school this morning, I'll start with my usual reminder to "work hard and be kind." Then, when Hallie's not looking, I'll whisper in Will's ear, "and please, sweet boy, look out for your sister."
I know he will.