It seems like just yesterday that I was lying in my bed in the maternity ward, relieved that I could finally feel my legs again, exhausted beyond belief, and exhilarated beyond measure.
I had brought an actual human being into the world, and she was amazing. And tiny. And holy shit, she was mine. How on earth was I ever going to pull this being a mom thing off?
During the weeks that followed, I wasn’t sure that I could. Between feeding her with an eye dropper, pumping till I felt like mooing, and giving into sporadic fits of hysterical tears, I didn’t exactly feel like mother of the year material.
But she survived (and so did I). She thrived (and I kept on surviving). And every time I blinked, she grew and changed and became even more amazing.
Before I knew it, she was one. She was walking, then running. Soon she was mumbling, then instantly talking in run-on sentences.
We made it through the terrible twos, and then the oh-my-God-why-didn’t-anyone-ever-warn-me-about-this Terrifying Threes.
Then, suddenly, she was four. And she had become this amazing little person who surprised me at every turn.
Her vocabulary both astounded me and sent me into fits of giggles. A tiny four-year-old voice using words like “similar” and “actually” and “discombobulated” is hysterical.
She put on entire musical shows from her treadmill stage and forced her mother (me) to get over her stupid fear of dancing and shake her groove thang (although only in the privacy of our own home).
She learned to write. Count to 100. And even began to read. She read me a whole book the other day…
She also learned to love to shop. And began to display an unhealthy love of shoes that must be genetic. She even developed one hell of a sense of humor.
But even though she was starting to become an individual, she was still mine. My preschooler, mostly safe from the horrors of the real world.
Now she’s five.
She’s beginning a journey that will take her farther and farther away from me. It’s a long trip, I know. But then…wasn’t it just last month that I found out I was pregnant?
I’m excited to see who she’ll become next.
I hope that as she grows, every day is “the best day ever.” And I pray that when the days suck, she remembers I’m still here to wipe away the tears. No matter what happens, I feel blessed (and that’s not a word I use often) that I get to help shape this little girl into the woman she’ll become.
But you know what? I’m also a little bit sad today. I’ve had to choke back tears more than once (I may even be crying as I write this). She’ll always be my baby, but she’s not a baby anymore. Those years are behind us.
I never realized how hard it would be to let them go.