Thousands of kids begin a new school year today in Tuscaloosa, and for the first time, my little girl is one of them. It's her first day of kindergarten and although she may be ready, I don't think I am.  I realize a lot of parents out there feel the same way, so I wanted to share this with y'all. It's a letter I wrote to my little girl on her first day of school.

Meg Summers/TSM

Dear Dolly,

This is it! It's your big day! Today you get to start a new chapter of your little life as you walk into that classroom and begin your first year of school. I am so proud of you, baby. Every fiber of my being radiates with pride for the person you are and the young woman you are becoming. You are clever, kind, courageous, and so, so beautiful.

I can't believe this day is finally here. The past five years have been a whirlwind. The day you were born, you were so tiny we had to go out and buy you preemie clothes. I blinked, and you were walking. I blinked again, and you were wearing tiaras and having sleepovers. People always told me that your child grows up "so fast," and now I understand. It's happening so fast, baby, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

I love you beyond measure. I know you will be an exceptional student and an excellent friend to your classmates. If I could give you any advice as you embark on this new adventure, it would be this: always take the time to listen and learn. Listen to your teacher. Learn all you can, as knowledge is power. Listen to the people you meet and learn from the stories they tell you. Listen to your heart and never stop learning from your mistakes.

I know you will have fun today. I can't wait to see your beaming beautiful smile this afternoon and hear all about your first day!

I love you (more than anything in the whole wide world),
Mommy

Meg Summers/TSM