The first night my newborn baby slept in her crib and not in her bassinet strategically nestled beside me, I sobbed until I had no tears left. I cried as I gently lowered her into her new sleeping area, careful not to disturb her, the tears continuing as I climbed into my own bed. Meanwhile, my baby peacefully slept in the next room—not fussing one bit over the transition. My mama heart wasn’t ready, but she was.
I said goodbye to my baby girl as I returned to work after maternity leave. Thankful for the months I had with her but already missing the feel of her warm little body in my arms. My sidekick was constantly on my mind as I eased back into the work routine. I rushed in the door, throwing down my black work bag to find her proudly holding a painting of her tiny footprints in the shape of a pink heart, smiling ear to ear.
My mama heart wasn’t ready, but she was.
I planted myself behind my 2-year-old as she climbed the rope ladder on the playground, sounds of laughter filling the air. Her little arms pulling herself up as her curly hair whipped in the wind. I placed a reassuring hand on her at all times to remind her she was safe. She turned, pushing my hand off, wanting to climb solo. She successfully reached the top, proudly showing off her new skills. My mama heart wasn’t ready, but she was.
After reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom for the hundredth time, I rocked my little girl, snuggling her to me until she was ready to climb into bed. Slowly over time, this request became less and less until she no longer asked for me to rock her at all. She transitioned to snuggling into her blanket with a simple cuddle and kiss goodnight making my heart yearn for the times she wanted me close. My mama heart wasn’t ready, but she was.
My daughter proudly sported cowgirl boots and a brand-new ladybug bookbag for her very first day of preschool.
I gave her a squeeze goodbye, lingering in the doorway to ensure she was OK. She kissed my cheek and ran straight to a group of 3-year-olds forming a circle on the alphabet carpet, never looking back. My mama heart wasn’t ready, but she was.
A little girl asked my daughter to play with her, my youngest stood, eager to join but holding back until invited. I opened my mouth to remind her to include her sister when she beat me to it. “This is my sister. You have to play with her too,” she clearly stated, grabbing her little sister’s hand, reminding me she doesn’t always need me to guide the way. My mama heart wasn’t ready, but she was.
Walking hand in hand into her first day of kindergarten, watching her taillights disappear down the road the first time she drives the car, snapping a picture of her smiling in her cap and gown, buttoning her white dress for her walk down the aisle. My daughter will continue to grow, to evolve, to thrive, to pull away before I am ready. But I realize this gives me a front-row seat to watch her grow into everything she was meant to be.
My mama heart isn’t ready, but it knows that she is.