I have let go of her, each day, since she was born. I encouraged her to walk, let her jump off the diving board, sent her to kindergarten. Today was her last day of school as a kindergartner, and I unpacked her backpack. As I looked at her drawings, her writing, and her picture stories, I started to cry. I didn’t know why I was so overwhelmed with sadness at first, but soon it became clear. This September she will go to school for seven hours a day as opposed to the three hours she has gone this year. The realization that I am gradually losing her to the outside world started to resonate within my being.
Looking back over her school year, I have enjoyed her company (most of the time) before sending her to the afternoon school session. We even managed to carve out special moments during the week where we played with her dinosaurs and horses. We went out to breakfast and laughed while eating pancakes. We rode our bikes, read books, and snuggled together. Today she confidently proclaimed, “I am a first-grader now!” It is obvious that she will be ready for the big step in September, but I am not so sure I will be.
You see, not only have I let go of her a little each day, but I have fallen more in love with her each day. I can already imagine how much I will miss her company next school year. And I know this is only the beginning of many moments when I will need to release her. I am trying hard, as her mother, to empower her until she is grown and secure. I want her to formulate her own identity. Daily, I find myself weighing even the simplest decision regarding her welfare. And I struggle with that selfish part of me that wants to hang on tight and keep her to myself. Yet doing that would imprison a soul who deserves to be shared with the world. Hopefully, my daughter will become an adult who feels capable of making her own decisions, choosing her own path, creating her own life—separate from me. Hopefully she will formulate her own identity and step into her beautiful spirit fully and completely. And so, I will continue to do what I know must be done. I will let go of her a little more each day. I just never knew how hard it would be.