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We’re physically ready for kindergarten.

We’ve got the backpack, the school supplies, the school clothes, and the new shoes.

We’ve talked about it all summer.

We’ve practiced the skills he will need, and how to open everything inside of a cold lunch box.

We’ve talked positively about it and imagined all the friends he will meet and the places he will go, and how kind and caring the teacher will be.

We’re physically ready for kindergarten.

But here’s a little secret . . .

My heart?

My heart can’t fully be ready for him to go to kindergarten.

I know what happens in the one-year span of kindergarten.

The beginning of the “letting go” happens.

On that first day, as tears sting my eyes, he will let go of my hand and warm hug and he will walk off on his own.

He will let go of the need to show me every single Magna tile building, and every drawing, and every new science experiment. Instead, he will look for affirmation somewhere else.

He will let go of a little bit of his innocence, as he tries to make new friends. And I hope and pray that his heart doesn’t break the first time someone hurts him. I hope he can feel my love from afar when he feels that pain in his heart.

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He will let go of his sole dependence on me, and instead, learn to stand a little more firmly on his own two feet.

He will let go of spending more hours at home where our presence with one another has been constantly entwined, and trade it for more time away from home and with learning and challenges and friends.

By the end of kindergarten, I know I’ll see it in his eyes.

I’ll see a shift.

A little bit of sweet innocence will be replaced with maturity and independence.

And as I watch his oversized backpack and 5-year-old body walk off into an unfamiliar new classroom in less than a month . . .

A little bit of my mama heart will whisper goodbye.

I’ll whisper goodbye to the mundane everydays we spent together.

RELATED: My Heart Isn’t Ready For You To Start Kindergarten—But Yours Is

The sun ups until sun downs, with all of our spontaneous adventures, and slow days spent full of love.

I’ll say goodbye to being the only one there to be able to comfort him when his heart has been hurt, or broken, or confused.

I’ll say goodbye to being the only one to see the shimmer in his eyes when he does something for the first time that he’s proud of.

I’ll say goodbye to the slowness of our every day that we were so fortunate to experience together.

I’ll say goodbye to the little boy who grew me and my heart in more ways than I could ever describe.

I’ll hope and pray that it was all enough.

And I’ll prepare my heart for the beginning of letting go.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

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

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