Today out of nowhere I focused in on your legs in your high chair. I mean really looked at them. They looked so long it was comical! Your feet are resting on the little foot rest on the bottom rung. Almost too big for this chair. Almost ready to move on to something new. Ladies and gentleman, we’ve entered the in between.
One part baby and one part little girl. You still have moments when you cry uncontrollably and can’t communicate what’s wrong. You just need to be held by mommy until the world stops moving so fast. But you surprise me every day with how much you know and understand. You want a baby sister and chocolate ice cream for breakfast. You run away from me as fast as you can, but turn around every few seconds to smile and make sure I’m still there.
This phase of life is so sweet but also hard on my heart. It’s the first time that I can feel you pulling away, even if it is just baby steps. I love watching you grow strong and discover the world around you. You’re becoming “you” and figuring out – sometimes frustratingly – how you fit into this great big place.
One part of being a parent that I never really pondered before I had you was the letting go part. And it turns out it might be the hardest part. For years, I had my fingers grasped so tightly around the idea of you. I wanted and needed you here with me. And once you arrived you needed me too. For two years we’ve been side by side in the trenches. But day by day you need me a little bit less. “I do it self” is a regular phrase.
You’ll start preschool this fall, and just the thought of being separated from you brings tears to my eyes. But I’m facing the letting go part head on. As much as you need me to hold you, you also need me to know when to let go. I will always be here to give you all my love, but there are some things that I can’t give to you. The gift of making new friends. The gift of new experiences and perspectives. I have to step to the side, if just a tiny bit, to let you find those things for yourself. And it is going to be damn hard on me.
For now we’ll live in the in between and savor the baby and big girl moments alike.