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Welcome! Lenkaland shares my adventures in creative photography, raising kind children, writing, living with chronic illness, raising a daughter with dyslexia, and swimming with mermaids. Hope you have a nice stay!

Letter to Anika on the Last Day of Kindergarten

We carried home your art.  Cleaned out your cubby.  Gave big hugs to your teachers.  And now we're home for the summer (except for going to school to clean Mama's classroom but that doesn't count, really).  Kindergarten is memories, now.  Memories of hobby horses at recess.  Your favorite was the black one with a white blaze.  You called it Black after the Black Stallion which you pronounce stayon.  Recess was kitty games and horse games and running away from boys. Your year was fun and wild and sweet.  You were brave and strong and playful.  You made friends with everyone.  You started writing letters, letters strung into words and you said you would write stories like Mommy.  I am so lucky to share this year with you.  I'll never forget the fierce hugs at recess as I brought my class outside and saw you there.  You came running and swept into me like a summer storm and I could barely let you go.  You were ponies and fairies and Star Wars princess this year.  You were a chocolate cupcake with pink frosting.  You were the blue sky.

Your brother was born on the first day of school.  You have carried him in your heart and in your arms this year.  He sees you and breaks into fearless happy grinning, trying to jump out of my arms to get to you.  And you introduce him to your friends.  You protect him when kids are eager to be close.  You want him to stay in class all day.  You have welcomed him into the world with a beautiful, graceful guidance.  He is so lucky to have you for his big sister.

You loved art and stories this year.  Though you would not let me help you with reading skills.  We practiced letters with Go Fish games and books, but you pull the book from my lap with quick determination.  "Let me read it my way," you say.  And I must admit, your way is often more colorful and interesting than the words printed on the page.  You loved Little Fur Family and Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (which you read for Royal Reader) and Go Dog Go.  You know your letters and sounds now, and soon you'll be choosing whether to read those printed words or whether to keep on making up your own stories. Or both.

You brought a stuffed animal to school every single day of kindergarten (thank you Teacher Linda!).  Mostly cats and puppies, but hamsters too, and horses, and the robot-duck.  You brought them in baskets with blankets and told me all about their day alongside your own.

You were so excited to see Buttercup's baby chicks that hatched in class.  Buttercup the fluffy white chicken was such a good mom with all of you five year olds so curious about her.  I remember those little chicks nestling under her at one day old.  A chick peeking out from under one protective white wing.

Animals visited for real.  A kitten and a puppy and a hamster that escaped and it ran over your leg and scratched you a little, but that was okay because you still want a hamster.  Sorry, not going to get you a hamster.

Forever I'll remember your beauty and your creativity and your delight in everyday kindergarten.  Growing seeds.  Paintings on the wall.  Books to read.  Ladybug of the Week.  Calendar.  Weather graph.  "I think I'll pick windy today because there is a lot of wind, right Mom?"  I'll remember your serious noticing of the world around you.  The way you started writing cards for me and Daddy.  The way you said, "Pick me up at 2 o'clock.  No, 3 o'clock.  Why are you here so early, Mom?"  And how you fell asleep in the car driving home almost every day.

Even you, in these last days, have said, "Why?  It goes so fast, Mom."  And yes, it goes way too fast.  You are a first grader now.  And as I tuck you in you smile up at me and say, "Can you believe it?  I'm in first grade!"

And no I can't.

And also of course I can, look how ready you are . . .

Electric Jolts and Creative Clay

Budget Deficit? Have kids and state workers pay!