The Hardest

Dear Darlings,

I thought this would get easier with each of you. I thought it would be easiest with you, Claire. But it wasn’t. I think this time was the hardest. 
Today was your freshman orientation. You were a bundle of nerves as we left the house. You chatted and chatted and chatted as we drove to school. You, my sweet girl, were the polar opposite of Lucas who said nothing on his way to freshman orientation. Obviously, your nerves manifest themselves in completely different ways. As we got closer and closer to school, your apprehension ratcheted up a hundred notches. Butterflies poured out of every facet of you. You talked incessantly. You told me you were scared. Your face scrunched up the way it does when you are unsure of yourself. And then the tears nearly spilled when reality hit, and you remembered Emma and Reagan wouldn’t be on the other side of those high school doors. 
But you were the picture of composure as you stepped out of the car. No one would ever know that every emotion just screamed out of your entire body. Nobody would ever imagine you were anything but ready to burst through those doors. 
And then it happened…you saw a familiar face, and another and another. The jitters were a little soothed, but still nervous laughter flowed out of you when you explained to your friends that I was walking you in so I could get the pictures I wanted for this blog. In all of this, though, your footsteps became lighter while you walked side-by-side with your friends, telling them how unsure you were. Soon though, your voice lilted and carried when you introduced yourself to your new principal. A happy smile filled your beaming face. I was so happy your apprehension was settling.
I walked you into school, snapping pictures as I surreptitiously as I could. And I swung around the back side of the sign in table, watching the most remarkable transformation take place in you. A student mentor was assigned to you to show you around, and your entire being lit up. You bubbled over as you said, “Hey, I know exactly who you are! Your name is Henry! You showed me around Moody when I was getting ready to go into 6th grade…” The rest of what you said was lost in the hum of conversation flowing around the commons area. And then you were off. There was no good-bye – no backward glance – no final wave. You were off to explore your new high school. 
I was then that it hit me. You’re ready to spread your wings a little. Whether I’m ready for it or not, you are ready for this adventure. As I walked out of school, my emotions came at me just as hard and fast as they came at you as we drove to school. Pushing the doors open, a lump formed in my throat, and I pulled my sunglasses down to mask the tears that were threatening to spill. I said above, I thought this would get easier with each of you. It hasn’t. Dropping you off for high school orientation was the hardest. Although I may not be ready, you, my sweet baby girl, are more than ready for high school. 
I know this is going to be great time for you, little love. Go spread your wings a little, and share your exuberance for life. The world needs to see the beautiful light you have to glowing within. Your bubbly enthusiasm is a rare thing, and you will succeed because of it. I couldn’t be more proud of you, Claire. 
Go rock the world as a member of the class of 2019! 

And remember, I love you more. 

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