After attending my first event at my daughter’s soon-to-be school this fall, I came home and it hit me.

This is happening. This is really happening.

Kindergarten.

There is no pause and there is certainly no rewind. From this moment forward, I cannot go back (let’s be honest, I never could go back but I liked having that made-up option in my mind!). Come this fall, you will be in school full time. I sat down and got a pit in my stomach. You know, the kind you used to get before a big test you know you didn’t study well enough for?

You just weren’t ready. I’m not ready.

You’re growing up.

You’re growing up faster than I can process. I remember how small you used to be . . . as if you could fit inside the palm of my hand. You would sleep on my chest so content, eventually nestling your way into your favorite spot closest to my heart. I always felt it was because you spent so much time inside of me hearing it that maybe subconsciously you missed it. You could sleep there for hours and I never minded, even on my most tired days. Now you sleep stretched out on your big girl bed. My tiny, little girl in her big, endless bed.

I’m grasping onto these moments as I feel them quickly slip away like sand through an hourglass. I remember the first time you were able to get dressed on your own and how proud you were as you said, “Look Mom, I did it all by myself! I didn’t even need you,” as I gave my best smile and clapped while a piece of my heart broke a little.

There is so much you can do without me now. I feel your independence as you free yourself from me slowly. You want to do it by yourself. You need me less. You’re becoming strongly independent and I couldn’t be more proud of that, but the double-edged sword of this equation still hurts. The more you do, the less you’ll need me for.

So before you go off to school and begin to really experience this big world, please know this: as much as I have to let you go, a part of me will always hold on tight.

That is the mom in me. The mom who will be there for you with open arms, no matter what. The mom who will never give up on you, never stop loving you, never stop supporting you, encouraging you and praising you for the wonderful girl you are. I may even become the mom you get sick of. The mom who asks too many questions, the mom who cares too much, the mom who never leaves you alone. And that’s OK. If and when we get there one day, that’s OK. Because then I’ll know I’m still doing my job. I’m still holding on tight to the part I need to.

I’m not ready for you to go, but I will be. I will be strong because that’s what you need.

And you will be strong. You will be amazing. Being home with you these past five years has brought me more joy than you’ll ever know. So before you go, I hope you always know how much I love you.

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Renee Dzieciolowski

Renee is a small business owner and stay-at-home mom to one sweet but sometimes sassy daughter and one very rambunctious son. Most days you’ll find her running on minimal sleep and chai tea lattes, trying to find new ways to entertain her kiddos (or places to hide from them!) and writing during hours she should be sleeping! Follow her blog New Adventures in Motherhood or check her out on Facebook and Instagram @newadventuresinmotherhood.