Lessons · Parenting

I want to be left behind (sort of)

Back to School

These words haven’t meant much since I finished my own schooling 4 years ago. Now though… These words have a totally different impact.

My kiddo is now of an age to attend school. It’s still preschool, but it’s pre-k 4 and has a structure similar to kindergarten.

Put another way –

I don’t know if I’m ready.

I know she’s ready. She’s growing everyday. She’s learning. She wants to read and play with friends and meet challenges. Which is great! However…

Every year older and growing is a year closer to her leaving.

Which I want. I want to be left behind. To find her wings, to be confident in the awesome person that she is. I want her to stand up for what she believes in and find how her purpose fits with the rest of the world.

But I also want to cuddle her close. I want to snuggle up watching a movie. I want her to yell, “mommy!” and run into my arms from across the room – simply because it’s been a couple hours since we’ve seen each other. I want to laugh at the way she mispronounces words, and to take joy from her unique point of view.

Such as this exchange…

Mom: Next week is school! You’ll have to get up early, get ready for the day, and then we get to go in!
Kid: Ugh… You know what that means?
Mom: ??
Kid: (With a look of incredulity)I’m going to be exhausted

Growing up is bittersweet.

With every age comes challenges. Guiding her has become easier in some ways (she actually apologizes now) and more challenging in others (her sass and attitude rival a 16 year old). I’m grateful for her independence at the same time I have this odd feeling of nostalgia.

I remember my own journey. I was itchy by the age of 12. Ready to be independent and to learn my own lessons. I did and they hurt.

Now I feel the heartache of being a mom, which I know all moms feel at some time. I hurt when she hurts. I want to go in swinging when she experiences injustice. I don’t want her to face the traumas of life that I’ve seen. I don’t want her to know abuse, poverty, or crippling loss that leaves her reeling for years.

But I can’t protect her forever.

Again… I want to be left behind – because that means I’ve done my job right. I’ve prepared her in mind, body and spirit for the world. That she’s been guided into becoming the already awesome person she is, just more. Bigger. Able.

I try to remember these bittersweet feelings when she’s been under my skin all day and I want to tell her to, “Please, for the love of God, go away for a half hour and give me a chance to breathe!”

She’s learning. I’m learning. And thank God for that. I want to be left behind… sort of.

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