Well, you guys know how to really bring it.
We had one hell of a transitional year; you guys are ready as always.
A little nervous, a little tentative, but ready for your next step for sure.

I watched you bloom on your day Anna. You shined with such light and confidence.
Sweet child of mine, I want to grow up and be like you.

And then after the pictures and laughs and - mom, you're so embarrassing - you took off with your friends.

I watched you have a cool but proud smile on your day Cole. You didn't want to play your cards that it mattered, but it did to you, and having us there meant a lot to you.
Sweet child of mine, everyone should be more like you.

And when they called your name, they mentioned that your classmates think you are amazing, because that is exactly what you are sweet love.

Before we went to our spot for ice cream for dinner, we made our way to the elementary school that held you both close for nine years. The school that made you meet good friends. The school that had great teachers. The school that taught you who you are and gave you a window into where you are headed.

I didn't cry when we took our last pictures.
I didn't break down when we all piled around the table for ice cream.
I took one step back, I looked at you.
Once again trying my hardest to remember every eyelash, every smile, every birthmark, every mannerism.
Once again trying to slow down and really really remember.
Once again not blinking, not wishing away or backward, but being with you.

That night you rushed off to a friend's house for a sleepover.
We rushed to a friend's house for drinks, Cole in tow to play with the bigger kids.

You told me how you told your friends that you needed to leave for one of your favorite family traditions.
You lit up when I reminded you it was our night for ice cream for dinner.
You both remind me how much you adore the small that we protect.
You both remind me that you are ready for your next steps too and I better not dottle.

So okay rising high school kid and rising middle schooler; we see you.
We see your love of reading, your love of learning, your love of movement, your love of anything sports.
We see your growth, your readiness, your respect, your determination, your smile, your humor, your friendships, your love, and your desire to keep moving forward while holding on to who we have always been.

We see you guys, and we'll continue to follow your lead.

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