Tonight I said goodbye to the last of your littleness.
And even though I knew the time was coming, it somehow caught me off guard. The realization hit me like a brick — it knocked me down, took the air from my lungs, and left me confused for a minute.
I just can’t believe we actually got here.
On the longest days, first full of diapers and spit-up, then tantrums and tears, then boundary-pushing and new-found independence, it felt like we were inching slowly toward the finish line.
And you know, I think there’s a reason for the days dragging by sometimes. I think those dragging days, in many ways, are actually a mama’s life raft. To save her own heart, she needs to feel like the days are long and many.
Because when she looks back on the sweet nights and the years, it has actually gone by quickly.
Like lightning speed, I mean.
So I guess we had to end up here, right?
It wasn’t your recent birthday that made it official (although attaching a whole new number to you was surreal).
I didn’t think about it during your sudden growth spurt.
It wasn’t even all the things you’ve learned lately or your readiness for a new school year (both of which made me so proud).
It’s just… there’s a bond between us, you know? It’s a bond that only exists between mother and child. I KNOW you. I know your soul like the back of my hand.
It happened tonight at calm-down time — when we started to get quiet and ready for bed. We sat down in your big-kid bed and picked out a book to read together. And you looked me in the eye and smiled… and I’d swear I witnessed the very moment when you left your littleness behind. There was a brand new knowing in your eyes.
So then I studied the length of your legs, and the size of your hands, and the perfect face that’s lost all its pudge.
And… of course you’re not little anymore, my baby. I just wasn’t ready to see it.
I think the moment surprised you, too. Or you felt my sadness, or both.
You held to me so tightly. Every time I moved the smallest bit, you pulled me even closer. And you told me you wanted to stay with me forever. You promised you’d never leave. My mama heart was just ready to burst.
But let me tell you right now, my love…
I won’t let you keep that promise.
Because, oh, how much I love you.
Sure, it started with your littleness. The beautiful first few days of your life, your powdery scent, your snuggles in footie pajamas. I loved holding your hand, playing toys in the bath, watching Disney movies together. All the pictures you drew for me. Preschool graduation.
But I can’t wait to see what comes next. You weren’t meant to stay little forever.
There’s a big-big world outside our walls, and my job is to help you grow big enough and ready enough to navigate the world on your own.
One day, when you outgrow your childhood altogether, I’ll watch with joy as you spread your full-grown wings.
You are going to fly.
And when you see me waving, so small on the ground, just remember that you were once so little.
And to raise you up big? Well, for this mama, those long days were the very best ones of my life.