Please be careful with her. Maaike starts kindergaten on Monday and I am terrified. She is so excited! I love that she is so excited and so ready but Im not sure the rest of the world is. As I'm preparing her for school we are doing all of the usual thing: buying a new backpack, crayons, markers, and good old Elmer's glue, but we are also talking. We are talking a lot. Talking about how to respond when someone asks her about her lip or tongue or why her cheek is so big or what the scar on her neck is from. Are you talking too? Are you telling your kids to be kind? Telling them to be brave and sit by the kid who is a little bit different? Are you reminding them about the whole book and cover thing? Please be careful with her. She is brave and she is strong and I know she will do great, but this mommy heart is a little tender, maybe too tender. I've sat by her bedside time and time again waiting for her to wake up from a surgery. I spend hours every week fighting the giants of insurance making sure she can get the best medical care. I hold her in the middle of the night through night terrors. I have slept on her floor watching her oxygen levels rise and fall. And now she will be beyond my sight and in your care. I know she will do amazing things no matter what you do, but please, for my sake, sit by her on the bus, invite her to eat lunch at your table, share your crayons with her, and see her for all she truly is. She is spunky. She is a bit of a smart aleck. She is loyal. She is funny. She is my Maaike.