Tomorrow you’ll graduate kindergarten.
You chose the perfect shirt for the occasion. It’s a blue and white button-up. “Get one with big checkers, Mom, not little ones,” was your request. I know it’ll make your eyes pop from under your too-big red graduation hat. It’s going to be adorable. You’re going to be adorable.
You’ve been counting down the days. You’re ready and, truthfully, I am too—even though I’m so often in denial about how quickly this time with you is passing. Didn’t you just start crawling? How is it possible you’ll already be in first grade next year?
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I know there are mamas all across the country getting ready to watch their 18-year-old “babies” receive their diplomas and step out into the world. I can’t even imagine the rollercoaster of emotions they’re on, but somehow this feels like a really big transition too. Even though I still have 12 more years of you under the same roof as me, this next year is the one when you’ll really begin to spread your wings and become a big kid.
When I volunteered as a chaperone for your field trip a couple of weeks ago, you asked to sit by me on the bus. You rested your head on my shoulder and intertwined your (not so little anymore) fingers between my own. And I wondered—how much longer do we have of this?
How much longer will you look at me with such genuine adoration?
How much longer will you choose spending time with me above just about everything else?
Maybe next year will be the year you choose to sit with friends on the bus instead of me (and that’ll be okay).
Maybe next year will be the one when your hugs when you see me in the hallway of your school turn into smiles and waves.
Maybe next year will be the one you stop reaching for my hand quite so much.
It’s all part of it—part of mothering you and watching you become you. I know this. Still, when I look at you, part of me will always feel a twinge for what was.
I’ll always see a blue-eyed baby with the biggest toothless grin and the deepest belly giggles. I’ll always remember what it felt like to hold you against my chest as you slept.
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I want you to know even when you stop reaching for my hand, I’ll still be here holding it out for you when you need it—both literally and figuratively.
When you need a strong hand to pick you up off the ground, you can take mine.
When you’re walking through a tough situation you’re not quite sure how to navigate on your own, I’ll reach my hand through the fog and help you find the way.
When you’re celebrating an accomplishment you worked hard for, my hands will be the ones clapping loudest.
When you’re sick or heartbroken or hurting, my hand will wipe your tears and remind you that you’re never alone.
Last night you pressed your open hand against mine to compare.
“Mine is almost as big as yours, Mom!” you exclaimed. Even though it still has a ways to go, I nodded and smiled. You’re right, my child. You’re growing. So am I.
Tomorrow you’ll graduate kindergarten, but don’t you ever forget—my hand is yours whenever you need it. From now until forever.