He held my hand tightly as we walked into the school. Neither of us knew where anything was or where we were supposed to be, but we were on this adventure together: Kindergarten Open House.
How was it that my little guy was big enough to be preparing for kindergarten? (I still remember clearly when I was in kindergarten!) Sitting beside him at a table in his soon-to-be cafeteria while we waited for the parent meeting to start, I felt my heart squeeze tightly, as though it were trying desperately to hold on to this moment, this second in time.
He still seems so little.
Then he nestled closer to me, laying his head against my arm, making my heart tighten further. I blinked back tears when he smiled sweetly up at me.
I thought about what my sister-in-law had said when I asked my friends and family for advice in facing these weeks of transition, “Remember to try to enjoy the moment in your mommy sadness, too.”
Looking at Elijah’s excited little face, seeing the hints of nervousness in his eyes, in his fidgeting, in the solid grip he had on my arm, and the complete trust overwhelming it all, knowing that Mommy was right there with him, I knew I was in that very moment, the double-edged sword of parenthood.
What other experience in life is as bittersweet as watching this precious child, whom you love more than anything, grow, become independent, and flourish as their own person?
There is so much joy and pride in seeing their discoveries, accomplishments, and individual triumphs, mixed with the heartbreaking awareness of how quickly time is passing and how briefly we get to hold so closely these most beautiful gifts of God.
It’s so hard to stand there, slowly letting go, watching them step out from your constant protection and comfort (even knowing that God is with them), and seeing them face potential disappointment or hurt in a fallen world.
While we often say, “This, too, shall pass,” as encouragement on those long, draining days of temper tantrums, potty training, and our every request being questioned, it’s these moments of “mommy sadness” that remind us that those giggly morning snuggles, that tiny hand clinging to yours, the wide-eyed fascination in simply studying a nighttime sky also fall into the category of “This, too, shall pass.”
So there I sat, my wiggly kindergartener anxious to meet his teacher, see his classroom, find his desk, and meet some other children. He was ready for this next chapter, eager to embrace it.
I knew he wouldn’t understand my “mommy sadness.”
None of us do when we’re the kindergartener (I love you, Mom!).
But as the mommy, I held it close, not to wallow in my own pity party, but to revel in the beauty of such an opportunity to love so soul-wrenchingly deeply.
The “mommy sadness” is a result of loving my child. And I’m choosing to embrace it. I could tuck it away, brush it off, or distract myself. With two busy boys, a house to clean, dinner to make, and a new book on my Kindle, I have plenty of ways to ignore my heart.
However, I’d rather it challenge and encourage me to cherish each and every minute with my boys, to be present and attentive to truly hear what their little voices are saying, to be quicker to drop housework or outside distractions to play with them, and to love them even more soul-wrenchingly deeply.
Embracing that “mommy sadness” allows me to enjoy the moments more fully because it shows me the true value in that moment.
Today, he held my hand tightly as we walked up to the school. He knew where everything was and exactly where he was supposed to be, and we were ready to embrace this adventure together: Kindergarten.
Update: If you’d like to know how our adventure in Kindergarten was, check out my look back on the year: Trusting God Through Kindergarten.
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