Today I woke up to her next to me. She must have found her way into mommy and daddy’s bed sometime during a midnight potty break. I usually would wrap her in my arms and take her back to her bed, but not last night.
Last night was the last night she would go to bed as small as she did the night before. Last night was the last night she couldn’t stay up a little late because we knew we could sleep in all day if we wanted. Last night was the last night before kindergarten.
Once her eyes opened this morning she smiled so big and said, “I’m ready for school!” She already sounded older, stood a little taller and knew what she wanted without anyone’s help.
I fixed her some cereal like I do every morning. I told her to brush her teeth and to bring me her brush for her hair. We went through the motions like we do every other day, but it felt so different. Probably because I was fighting back tears as I poured her fruit loops.
She ate her breakfast so fast and rushed to put her new clothes on all the while talking to me about how her new tennis shoes were her favorite part. “Mom, did you pack the carrots and ranch in my lunchbox?” “Mom, did you know they have a bigger playground than at my preschool?”
I took a deep breath and smiled. She put on her backpack, picked up her lunchbox and turned to her dad and I and said, “Let’s roll!”
The school was busy with other parents wishing their kids a wonderful first day. We finally found where we were supposed to be and her teacher reassured us she would be great. All the kids were lined up in the gym with their class, eager to start the day. Her teacher pointed to us where she could sit and we walked her over. I took once last picture as she smiled from ear to ear. I gave her one last hug, told her I loved her so much and let go.
I turned quickly to my husband and started to cry. We knew we had to leave fast so we wouldn’t upset her on this special day. I looked back at her before we left the gym and another little girl had sat down next to her. She was still smiling.
This is the first time she wasn’t crying when I left her somewhere new. We had switched roles and I never realized how hard it would be for me. I always imagined this day being a struggle and having to fight her to go to school because she needs me, but no. It’s me who needs her. Without her I wouldn’t learn how to let go. Without her I wouldn’t experience this kind of overwhelming love. Without her my life would have taken a very different and dark path. Without her I wouldn’t have found the courage to run back to God.
Without her I wouldn’t be a mom.
Here is to more mom moments like this one, may they be crying into a bowl of fruit loops kind of wonderful!