A letter to my fourth grader…

 Dear Riley:

Over this past summer, I’ve watched you change from an eight-year old into a nine-year old. I am sure it may not seem like a HUGE difference to you now, but to me it is. I see all the changes that have happened over the course of the last year and I ache with joy. You have grown taller and your face has matured. Your vocabulary has expanded. You are growing up right before my very eyes. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that you are a FOURTH GRADER! You have mastered your A-B-Cs and 1-2-3s and now you are moving on to cursive and long division. You are learning the dynamics of different friendships and how relationships outside the family circle can be. You even used the word “frienemy” once. You are growing up.

I think that fourth grade is the start of a curve for you. You are rounding the corner of “what you are taught to do” and “turning into who you are.” This will be a tough year for you in many ways. Not just academically speaking. There is not really any reasoning behind this belief, but to me; this is the year you walk in a kid and walk out a pre-preteen. I am both excited and scared for you . I am so proud of you and how your personality is evolving. I am scared, too. I am frightened of all that you will learn out of my grasp, the ideals that will develop because of the views of your peers. I trust that you will know right from wrong, good from bad, but my heart aches for the lessons you will learn while you figure it all out.

You will learn to work harder and smarter this year as the curriculum will be harder than the last (yet easier than the next). My heart aches because you are growing up. You aren’t my baby anymore, and even though it’s sometimes hard to remember that, it is also so mystical.  You care more about the way your hair lies on your face and having mismatched socks. You try too hard to be a “tomboy.” You have an infectious laugh that you sometimes try too hard to have heard. You are finding your wings. It is a very beautiful thing to watch. I know it’s so hard growing up. I know that there is so much change whirling around in that body of yours and sometimes it feels like a bundle of energy ready to burst. I just hope you know that Mommy is always here to hear you and truly listen.

You are a wonderful, beautiful and talented person whom I adore. You will have an amazing fourth-grade year full of unforgettable memories and knowledge that you will carry with you forever.  I hope you experience every new day with wonderment and purpose. I want you to know that I believe in you. I cannot wait to see what this year brings.

With all my love,





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  1. Kelli -  August 9, 2012 - 9:59 am

    Beautiful Risa. You made me cry! We are so close to this age, so I completely get this, yet I’m scared to actually be there at the same time. It’s so crazy bittersweet to watch your kids grow up.

  2. Heather P. -  August 9, 2012 - 11:41 am

    It is such a bittersweet blessing to watch our children grow. Beautiful letter to your baby.

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