As I write this, my daughter is playing Monopoly with a friend, and my son is in his room driving a remote-control car around.
I just finished doing some writing and was wrapping up a few things on my computer when I looked at my calendar and saw that I have a school check-in day with my daughter at her middle school this week.
I know I’ve mentioned the fact that I can hardly believe she’s in sixth grade, but it seems like as the date gets closer, I can’t even think about it without getting choked up.
I’m not emotional about it because I’m sad.
I’m not sad.
I’m just … emotional.
It’s the same way I felt when I walked her into preschool, her tiny hand holding tightly onto mine, her thumb in her mouth because she was a little unsure.
I felt like this her first day of kindergarten too, as I hurried away after dropping her off, hiding my tears under my sunglasses, hoping nobody would notice that I was crying.
It’s not that I want her to stay young, and it’s not that I don’t want her to be away from home.
That’s not it.
It’s just that I’m amazed
about the fact that she used to be a tiny baby in my arms,
mostly sleeping or crying,
and now she’s on the brink of becoming a teenager,
then a woman.
In seven years, I’ll have raised a woman.
See? Here come the tears again.
“Mommy, we’re going outside,” she just called.
They must be done with Monopoly.
“Okay,” I say, masking the emotion in my voice.
I remember when she was younger and I used to have to go outside with her.
I remember when I’d bring a blanket out on the grass and let her crawl around and play.
I remember the time when she was two and ate a flower and I called poison control in a panic.
And the time she was four and finger painted hand prints all over our white Labrador when I had gone inside to get the phone.
The memories …
they make me laugh and cry.
There are so many of them.
And I know there are more to come.
I know that.
It’s not like her going into middle school means my journey as a mom is over.
Really, in so many ways, it’s just beginning.
Maybe that’s what my emotion is about …
the changing season,
the new phase.
Endings and beginnings.
It’s just that I love her so much.
And with the school year starting in a week, and the fact that I know by now how fast the days, months, and years fly by,
I’m acutely aware of this time,
this beautiful end of summer
with my little girl.
Are you entering a new season too? How old are your kids and what’s changing for them … and for you?