I remember the first time that I laid out clothes for you.
They were size Newborn and you were still safely nestled in my womb.
I remember the first time that I dressed you for a big occasion in special clothes, you were two weeks old and they were pictures with Santa.
It boggles my mind that Sunday night, I laid out your clothes for your first day of Kindergarten.
Your navy jumper (size 8! child, you are so tall), your white polo (size 7), your lace edged socks which make your southern belle grandmother go all squishy inside and those darling navy mary janes… let’s not forget the matching bow, which you declared the greatest bow of all time and in the same breath told me to make another one with big white, little navy and a different shaped rhinestone (yes, you are your own woman).
You are supposed to still be nestled into my side, with your warm, sweet, milky breath leaving moist circles on my skin and the butterfly beatings of your heart lulling me to sleep.
Instead, I’m putting your hair in a pony-tail, zipping up your jumper, fastening your bow and making you lunch.. in your custom lunch kit and tucking it into your hot pink matching backpack.
You pose with part joy and part exasperation because “Mom, can we go yet.. Mom, I don’t want to be late.. Mom.. one more and that’s it”
Your daddy and I are so proud of you. As we drive you to school it’s a non stop stream of chatter about new friends, learning and your desperate desire for homework (I’m going to video you saying that and in 5 or 7 years.. play it back, be careful what you wish for) .
Your daddy finds the perfect parking spot and you almost vibrate out of your seat with joy and excitement.
You walk just ahead of us, your blonde hair swinging, such confidence and independence in your little body. You are ready, ready to take on the world.. ready to move on to the next big phase of life.. leaving us just a little behind.
There’s no sadness in our hearts or eyes, nor is there trepidation in yours. I was so proud of you as I watched you stride into the classroom and greet your teacher by name, you listened as she gave you instructions and then we watched as you located your cubby, and placed your backpack in it, as your wide, glowing eyes scanned the tables for your name and your exuberance as you found it. I had to hold your daddy back from pointing it out to you, you know your name.. how to spell it, how to write it, how to read it.. you know all the important words and names in your life and you write them effortlessly: Mommy, DAddy, Monkey, Yours, Love, BeBe and Grandpa.. all the ones who’ve mattered thus far. The ones who rotate around your universe.
There were kisses and hugs from us and Monkey and then you waved us off, ready to begin.. ready, eager to learn, to grow, to stretch your wings and fly.
I watched as other parents cried… I could understand it but, I didn’t feel it.
My heart swells with joy and anticipation. There is a whole world out there and you are just dipping your toes into it and I know that you are going to make it yours. Take it on, Princess, enjoy it.. savor it, laugh with it…and know, that we are always walking just those few steps behind you. Supporting you, proud of you and willing to allow you to fall, because you must, and I promise it will hurt us more than you.. but we will always, always.. pick you up again and help you to find that strong, independent walk that led you away from us on your first day of school.
She is no longer all mine.. I give her to you, share your knowledge, your power, your wonder and if you must, and I know you must.. your pain, your heartache and your reality.. because through that.. she will become the amazing woman that she is destined to be, and she will change you, too.
No longer just mine alone… I share her.