He turned and walked into his kindergarten classroom, almost without a kiss. He’s not scared. He’s not anxious. He’s excited. He’s radiating a confidence that is almost unrecognizable considering he’s only five. 

Five. He’s only five, yet he’s so poised and calm. He is ready for this adventure. He’s so ready to be a kindergartener. I’m not sure my mom heart is ready for this stage of growing up. It’s the stage where they start to need you less and less. That is both brutal and breathtakingly beautiful.

I leave his classroom thrilled. I also leave a bit heartbroken.

He no longer needs the extra kiss he once did to start his day. He no longer needs the extra hug and the extra “I love you”. He no longer needs me to comfort him and assure him things will be OK. He has learned that he will have a great day of learning and then see me when it’s all finished. I’m so proud of the self-assured boy he has become, but I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that I’m also heartbroken he no longer needs the kisses, hugs and “I love yous” the way he once did. 

The goal has always been for him to have roots and wings. I didn’t realize that at the age of five, his wings would have him soaring higher and higher, more confident with each stride. I didn’t realize that kindergarten would be the start of his becoming.

As I leave the school, I’m comforted by my husband’s words. I’m comforted by the smile on my boy’s face as he meets new friends. I am overwhelmingly proud of the sweet boy that I have raised. I am proud of the way he heads into a new adventure ready to charge, ready to learn, ready to soak it all up. 

I am so proud I have raised a boy who knows I will be there when he’s done doing big things. 

But I also miss the little boy who needed his mama’s extra kisses, extra hugs, extra “I love yous”. 

He has roots and wings, just as I always hoped for. I just didn’t realize that his wings would be fully developed in kindergarten. 

But, he’s ready . . . so I’ll sit back and watch him fly.

This post originally appeared on the author’s blog

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Wife, mother, and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is married to the love of her life, Justin. She’s the mother to three beautiful and spunky children. She has a deep love of teaching and has always enjoyed helping inspire students. She is a Ball State graduate but an Indiana University Hoosier at heart. Chelsea’s mother always encouraged her to write. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. She decided to honor her mother's wishes and write. It was one of the best decisions she's ever made. Website: www.hopeandharshrealities.com Instagram Handle: hopeandharshrealities Facebook: @hopeandharshrealities