Shop the fall collection ➔

I remember the first day of kindergarten

I remember how far away your senior year in high school seemed and how unimaginable it was that one day you would be leaving me.

I once heard the older your child gets, the closer the goodbye becomes—and it’s so painfully true.

I remember not sleeping the night before your first day of school wondering which of us would cry first, would you make new friends, and would you be happy?

I remember the sporty new outfit you picked out for the first day of school, the new backpack and lunchbox, the anticipation we felt and the disbelief that you were already old enough to be headed off to school, alone.

I remember taking pictures out front by our big tree and knowing that this was the start of a tradition I would force you to do every year until you no longer had a first day of school at our house. 

I remember holding tight to your tiny hand as we walked to the classroom, wanting to be connected to you for as long as you would let me be.

I remember looking around, wondering who your new friends might be and praying they would grow to love you as much I do.

I remember the smile on your face, the bravery in your heart, the excitement in your step and the butterflies in your stomach because you somehow knew this day was a rite of passage.

I remember kissing your sweet little face good-bye, turning around and walking away so you wouldn’t see the tears coming down my face . . . only to have you come running after me to give me one more big hug. And then you cried and didn’t want to let go.

I remember picking you up that day, feeling a mix of eagerness and nerves, hoping to see a big smile on your face as you ran out of the classroom ready to tell me all about your day, step-by-step sharing every detail of how amazing it was.

I remember hearing you talk about new names I didn’t know yet and share funny stories with an impish giggle I wish I could have bottled up and kept forever.

I remember sitting in the parking lot during your recess, hoping you wouldn’t see me, but loving every second of watching you run around and play so carelessly.

I remember seeing the fifth graders, the “big kids” and thinking how old they seemed to me and how cool they seemed to you.

I remember asking who you sat with at snack time, who you played with at break and who was nice to you just to be sure you weren’t alone. And each time you would say a name, I would silently sigh a breath of relief.

I remember losing your front tooth, excited to get your name on the special board in the classroom and even more excited to put it under your pillow that night.

I remember bringing treats to school on your birthday and watching you beam with joy when the class sang to you knowing how very special you felt in that moment.

I remember how happy you were to see us at school, proud of us, and still willing to give us hugs and kisses in front of all your classmates.

I remember your artwork, your potato people with wide bodies and short arms, your dirty knees, your toothless grin, and all the dreams you weren’t afraid to speak up and share.

I remember your love of the playground, begging me to “stay for just a few more minutes” so you could play a little longer.

I remember tucking you into bed, saying prayers, singing songs about how much Jesus loved you and wishing you sweet dreams every night before I turned out the light . . . only to get called back at least once a night to either get you a glass of water or just because you wanted to tell me one more time that you loved me.

I remember the school projects, the smiley faces, and stars on top of the papers encouraging you to be a good student and try your hardest. I kept those papers, tucked away in a box because I couldn’t dare throw away anything you had worked on. 

I remember your favorite shirt, how I had to wash it at night after you went to sleep so you would have it ready to wear the next day, and the day after that. Life was simple and you cared more about comfort than fashion, so you rocked your favorite shirt day in and day out.

I remember the All-Goblins costume parade, the Candyland Breakfast, the Valentines we made for everyone in the class, and the clever trap you made in hopes of catching a mischievous leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day. I remember the glue, the glitter, and the messes we made creating our masterpieces. 

I remember the last day of kindergarten, the disbelief that the year was over and the sadness knowing that each year ahead would pass that fast.

I remember these moments because they are part of the quilt of memories that make up your life. They are the fabric of who you are, and they remained tucked away safely in my heart forever. Watching you grow up has been an amazing journey and the lump in my throat grows bigger each time I realize our journey together is about to change. Instead of being your guide on this journey, I will be your traveling companion.

Now, as you are in your final days of high school, your final days calling my home your home, your final hoorah with the people you have grown up with, I stand in amazement at how very fast it all happened.

I blinked and you went from kindergarten to college, from diapers to diplomas, from chapter books to chemistry books, from sharing to SATs, from playdates to proms, and from childhood to adulthood.

It’s time to bend the bow back and release you into battle where you’ll make your own choices and forge your path ahead. It’s time to cheer for you but mourn for me because while you are just starting your life, I’m letting go of what has been my life. And if I’m being honest, letting go is my least favorite thing about motherhood but if I don’t then I’m not doing the job.

Enjoy the moments and memories that are ahead. Lean into how special these last days together will be. Celebrate your past and be excited about your future. But in the middle of it all, make sure you pause long enough to remember it all started in kindergarten, and even though you don’t want to hold my hand anymore, you will always hold my heart.

Originally published on the author’s blog 

You may also like:

Being a Mom of a Kindergartener Is Harder Than I Thought It Would Be

Dear Teenager, Be Patient While I Let Go

Let Me Love You a Little More, Before You’re Not Little Anymore – 5 Ways to Cherish Your Child Right Now

Kelly Richardson

I am a Licensed Pyschotherapist who specializes in working with teenagers and their famiilies. I wrote a Syndicated Teenage Advice Column for 17 years called Teen Talk and now I have switched to blogging as Thera-Mom, combining my home and my job. I am the mom of three busy and very different teenagers, two in high school and one in college.  

Faith is a Verb, So We Go to Church

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman and teen daughter in church pew

Every Sunday morning we rush out the door bribing, coaxing, and threatening our kids to just “Get into the van!” Luckily, we live remotely rural so we don’t have neighbors to witness our often un-Christlike eye rolls and harsh sighs as we buckle each other up. We’ve always lived within a five-minute drive to a chapel, and yet we are usually there not two minutes before the service starts. Once sitting in our seats, we’re on high alert for noise control and sibling altercations for the next hour of what is supposed to be a peaceful, sacred, spirit-filled service. Which...

Keep Reading

3 Simple Ways to Be a More Confident Mother

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and young child smiling outside

Do you ever ask yourself why you can’t be more like that mom or why can’t your kids be like those kids? The comparison trap is an easy one to fall into if we aren’t careful. At the click of our fingers, we see Pinterest-worthy motherhood in every category. From the mom with the black-belt kids to the mom with Marie Kondo organizing skills—it’s easy to look at their lives and feel like we’ve fallen short. Even worse, is when we start to strive to become something we aren’t or prod our kids to become something they aren’t.  Comparison makes...

Keep Reading

I’ll Find Her Again One Day

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother holding baby at night

It happened again. Took 15 months this time. But I found myself in the same spot I said I’d never be in. Lost, drowning, on the brink of a mental breakdown—however you want to put it. I was gone in motherhood. With the diapers piling up around me, I was getting mad at my husband for nothing, screaming at my oldest son, crying along with the babies, and in a fog. RELATED: To the Woman Who’s Lost Herself in Motherhood I couldn’t do anything—literally—I couldn’t even pee without hearing a demand. When my children were quiet, my house billowed with...

Keep Reading

I Know What It’s Like To Have a Difficult Child

In: Child, Motherhood
Little girl kneeling on deck, color photo

One Sunday morning during church, I was standing around bouncing my fussy premature baby around the cry room. This room is special—a place for nursing moms and moms with young kids to watch the live sermon on a monitor. I wasn’t alone, two other moms sat on the couches, and we were all chatting. A beautiful but tired mom sat with her little girl snuggled in her arms, gazing at the lights.  “She’s so chill. She’s like this all the time, much easier than my other son.”  I looked over at her with big eyes and a laugh, “I’m jealous!...

Keep Reading

One Day You’ll Outgrow Being My Little Boy—But Not Today

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Mother and two sons back-to-school picture, color photo

One day you will come home after your first day of a new school year and not wish to share a single thing. Not today. Today, you got into the car and talked non-stop about every second of your day. I was delighted!  One day you will not have countless first-day forms for me to sign and return the next day. Not today. I signed my name at least four times. I was happy to grant permission for you to play sports, learn algebra, and do whatever else I gave my permission for.  One day you will not allow me...

Keep Reading

Senior Year Is Overwhelming For Moms Too

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
High school graduate kissing mother on cheek

We are mothers. We do ALL the things. We are varsity-level, starting lineup, go-to DOERS. We are in the business of getting it done. And we know that our fine-honed, behind-the-scenes skill of doing makes the wheels turn smoothly in our families.   We are the getting-it-done glue.  High fives all around. So, here comes this season of launching. Your child is now a high school senior. Guess what? As moms, we want to jump right in with our number one mom-tool . . . doing. I want to do the research. I want to do the planning. I want to...

Keep Reading

To the Mom In the Trenches: Make Room For Yourself

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother and daughter on beach black and white photo

“I need to make room for myself,” I think quietly as I shove toys aside with my foot and toss the dog-hair-covered blankets onto the couch behind me. This endless carousel of shuffling clutter weighs on me, but I try not to dwell on that fact right now. Clearing a space for a quick strength class between Zoom calls requires almost as much effort as the class itself. Plastic play food and melodic baby toys lay strewn about the room (the whole house, really). Scattered LEGOs and Hot Wheels wait to attack unsuspecting bare feet at any moment. To say...

Keep Reading

His First Haircut Was the Start of Letting Go

In: Child, Motherhood, Tween
Toddler smiling and holding popsicle, color photo

My son has the most beautiful curls. I remember when his hair started growing as a baby and a little ringlet appeared. My momma heart was bursting with excitement. Yes, I will admit something as superficial as a curl made me squeal.  The kid just has adorable hair—and where does this wondrous flow come from? He didn’t inherit it from me, and his dad doesn’t have a curl to boot either. In a way, it’s become my youngest’s trademark.  The day came for his first haircut, and then his second one. I remember watching his curls fall to the ground...

Keep Reading

The Sports Mom Shows Up For Her Kids, No Matter What

In: Kids, Motherhood
Youth baseball game

We’re nearing the end of club baseball/softball season, and the burnout is real. The time away from home, burning through gas to get somewhere for two hours with half your house packed only to pack back up and turn around and drive to the next two-hour destination is insane. I don’t even like the sport right now. There . . . I said it. I’m so sick of softball fields and wind-blown dirt in my face. I’ve seen so many balls thrown in the last two months that my eyes hurt. But I still show up. I love to see...

Keep Reading

Real Life Maternity Photos Are Beautiful Too

In: Baby, Motherhood
Pregnant women on floor next to toilet, black-and-white photo

As a maternity and newborn photographer, my feed is full of radiant moms and seemingly tidy spaces in the families’ homes we work in. We always want you looking and feeling your best in your photos, and to avoid clutter that can distract from the beautiful moments we’re capturing. An unfortunate side effect is that it creates the impression of perfection, which can be intimidating for anyone interested in booking a photography session. In our consultations, we frequently hear concerns from pregnant moms like, “I’ve gained so much weight,” “I have nothing to wear,” “My home is a mess,” or...

Keep Reading