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We’re doing it. We’re applying, touring, and submitting pre-school applications. It feels a lot like my college application days, and there’s this image in my mind of how fast that day will come with my sweet girl once she enters the school doors. It’s a bizarre place to be because if I’m honest, I know it’s time to let her go, but my heart is screaming, “I’m not ready yet!”

She’s four now though. Four years have flown by, and I don’t know how it happened. She can put her own clothes on and take herself to the bathroom. She tells me what she wants to eat and fills me in on her favorite things. She’s growing more independent by the minute, but at night when I tuck her in and she snuggles up with her blanket and asks for one more kiss, I can see my little baby still in there.

RELATED: Dear Preschooler, I’m Trying To Be Excited For You—But My Mama Heart is Breaking

She’s my best friend. I know I’m not supposed to admit that. I’m supposed to say that my kids aren’t my friends, not until they’re older. I understand that sentiment, but I also know that I held my girl close, and we became two new people the day she was born. You see, she was my first. She and I have grown together. I left my job right before she was born and have been blessed to be home with her ever since, and we’ve done everything together.

I loved going to school, and I know she will too. It’s not that I don’t want her to go, it’s that once she does, there’s no looking back. It’s the start of a 13+ year journey we don’t get to step off of. I think I will always want to keep my kids little in a sense. There is a wonder that comes with being little and having no expectations yet. I want them to hold onto that as long as they can.

The bottom line is I’m not ready yet, but it’s time for me to let her explore and start having new adventures without me. It’s time for her to learn new things and continue building a beautiful future. I may not get to be with her through every part of her day, but I’ll be the one with the welcome-home hugs and the after-school snacks. I’ll be the one who helps with homework and drives her to sports and lessons. I’ll be the one cheering her on no matter what she chooses to do.

RELATED: Dear Daughter: I’m Not Ready to Let Go of These Little Moments with You

I know I sound like a mom who just can’t let go, and maybe that is who I am right now. I do have big dreams for my girl, but I think I’ll always want a little more time for her to be little. I want a little more time to keep her safe by my side. I want our world to stay small for just a little while longer, but my girl is ready to break free.

There will always be something bittersweet about watching your kids grow. You are in a constant battle of saying goodbye to a younger version of them and hello to a new version of them. It is both the most exciting and heartbreaking part of my motherhood journey. I am so thankful for the years I got to keep my sweet girl home with me, so even though I’m not ready yet, I’m going to let her shine.

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Lizzie Michalak

Lizzie Michalak is a mom, wife, and writer. Originally from New England, she lives with her family in Dothan, Alabama where she continues to write for her blog A Life in Review. She has been in the blogging world since 2011 and began her latest writing adventure in February of 2020 where she publishes bi-weekly lifestyle and family posts.

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