I go to the store and buy cute new outfits.

I bring them home and am so excited for you to wear all your clothes in the next size up.

But I pack up your newborn clothes, and I store them away in boxes.

Wait . . . I wasn’t quite ready for that yet.

I try to teach you how to walk. I hold your hands up and walk you around the living room all day long.

Then I watch as you let go of my hands and walk away.

Wait . . . I wasn’t quite ready for that yet.

I prepare your nursery. I lay you in your crib every night and give you a hug and kiss, knowing you can’t climb out.

Then we move you into a toddler bed and watch as you happily sleep through the night.

Wait . . . I wasn’t quite ready for that yet.

I encourage you to make friends at the park. I watch at a distance as you share personalities with new friends.

Then I watch you courageously walk into your kindergarten classroom on your first day of school.

Wait . . . I wasn’t quite ready for that yet.

I encourage you to get involved in different activities. To make new friends. To challenge yourself.

Then you begin wanting to be with your friends more often than your family. You crave independence.

Wait . . . I wasn’t quite ready for that yet.

I teach you how to drive a car.

Then I watch as you pull out of the driveway ready to go on your first date.

Wait . . . I wasn’t quite ready for that yet.

I help you discover your talents. I help navigate you to your passions.

Then I help unpack all your stuff into your college dorm room. I wave goodbye as tears roll down my face and I know “home” is going to be a new destination that doesn’t involve me.

Wait . . . I wasn’t quite ready for that yet.

Parenthood.

Maybe that’s what it’s all about.

Doing what’s best for our kids, even when it hurts. Even when it’s not easy.

Holding on, while simultaneously letting go.

Building their foundations . . . 

So they can eventually fly.

Watching them as they fly, while we hold back tears through all the ages and phases.

Knowing we’re letting go so they can soar.

This post originally appeared on Messy Footprints

 

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Kaleigh Christensen

Kaleigh is a stay at home mom, wife, and former Kindergarten teacher. In her spare time she loves to write about the things that matter. She shares real and honest vulnerability about the ups and downs of motherhood, marriage, infertility, miscarriage, and just plain life. She loves to inspire others to find the beauty mixed in with the mess of life. To read more of her writings, like her Facebook page, Messy Footprints, @MessyFootprints