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In just a few short weeks, our daughter will start preschool. 

On Monday and Wednesday mornings, she’ll sling her little backpack over her shoulders, pull on her tie-dye sneakers, and head out the door.

If you ask her about it, she’ll get a big grin on her face and tell you how excited she is.

But me? While I’m ready for her to go and fully confident she’ll thrive, my stomach has also been doing flip-flops at the thought. Because she’s our youngest. Our little. Our last.

If you’ve been here before, you know:

When your last baby goes to school, you’ll think your heart is breaking.

It’ll be harder to let go this time because you know what it means.

You’ll force a smile as you comb her hair and pour her cereal.

You’ll squeeze her little hand just a bit more tightly as you walk her from the car to the front door of her classroom. The lump in your throat will be impossible to swallow as you kiss her and wave goodbye.

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When your last baby goes to school, you’ll breathe a little sigh of relief. 

You’ve spent so many days—so many early mornings and sleepless nights—caring for everyone else around the clock. Now, your routine will change. 

You’ll come home from drop-off and drink your coffee while it’s still warm. 

Life will still be busy, but maybe now you’ll be able to find the occasional hour to read that book that’s been sitting unopened on your nightstand for a year, or to meet a friend for coffee.

You’ll have a little more quiet in your days. You pray a little more balance comes too, so that when 4 o’clock rolls around and the kids walk through the door, you can give them your full attention instead of multitasking a million things like you did when they were all at home.

When your last baby goes to school, you’ll feel the closing of a chapter. 

You’ve been out of the diaper and bottle stage for a while, but you’ve still had a little one at home. You’ve still felt like you had a “baby” . . . but now there’s no denying how she’s grown.

The season of having a tag-a-long most days will be over. 24/7 will turn into afternoons, evenings, weekends, and summers.

RELATED: Your Firsts Are My Lasts—So Grow Gently, My Love

You’ll miss your kids. You’ll look back at the constant hands-on days with rose-colored glasses, almost forgetting how entirely demanding they were.

When your last baby goes to school, you’ll worry. 

Even though she’s not a baby anymore, she’s your baby—the one who is the smallest and youngest and who you’ve perhaps held on just a little bit tighter to. 

You’ll think about her all day long and wonder how she’s doing. Is she making friends? Is she sharing with others? Is she comfortable with the teachers? Does she miss you as much as you miss her?

And then you’ll remind yourself that she’s beyond ready, and she’s got this. 

When your last baby goes to school, you’ll be so proud

You’ll look at the people your kids are becoming, and your heart will swell because gosh dang—they’re so wonderful. 

You’ll be in awe of how smart and funny and capable they’ve become.

You’ll think of all the days you’ve spent by their side. All of the things you’ve taught them and all they’ve taught you.

When your last baby goes to school, you’ll be happy and sad and proud and sentimental and worried and excited and all the things.

It’s a big transition for her, and maybe an even bigger transition for you.

When your last baby goes to school, she’ll be OK—and so will you. I promise.

Casey Huff

Casey is a middle school teacher turned stay-at-home-mama to three littles. It's her mission as a writer to shine light on the beauty and chaos of life through the lenses of motherhood, marriage, and mental health. To read more, go hang out with Casey at: Facebook: Bouncing Forward Instagram: @bouncing_forward

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