Tonight I watched my daughter walk across a stage in a cap and gown.
Tonight I watched my daughter graduate Kindergarten. It’s the first of many I will see her adorn that square cap, next will be fifth grade, then eighth grade, then high school, then (if she wants) college. As she walks across each stage it will signify the closing of one chapter in her childhood and the anticipation of a new one coming.
Seeing her walk across the stage was harder than I expected. It was hard to think that big girl is my baby, but she is not a baby, now she is a big girl. She has opinions and ideas, she loves big and wears her heart on her sleeve. She cares for others and wonders about God and the world He created. She is now a little girl who loves to go out to dinner and enjoys trips to bookstores—just to browse and read. She is now a little girl who loves strolling the aisles of Target with me for hours. She is a little girl who asks to have breakfast dates with just her mama, she is a little girl who sits across from me, while I drink my coffee, discussing life in ways I didn’t know was possible with a child her age.
I have always been thrilled to watch her grow so I was pretty shocked at my feelings tonight. After years of infertility when she finally arrived my heart was ahead and already looking forward to the “fun stuff”— I was ready for mother daughter pedicures, I was ready for girls days and shopping. My arms finally had a baby but in the midst of newborn and toddler-hood my mind was longing for the big girl she would become.
Now she is that big girl, she is my little best friend, and all I could think tonight was where is the baby I held in my arms? How did we get here so fast? Where is the baby I had to rock to sleep until she was two? Where is my baby who held onto her bottle far longer than she should? Where is my baby who was just learning to walk, talk, ride a tricycle, then a bike?
She was there on that stage, every age of her past was there wrapped in her present with her big blue eyes and blonde streaked hair. Her past and her present walked across that stage and it gave me a glimpse of her future and how it would feel each time I arrived in this auditorium thinking, “How did we get here so fast?”
So here we are, finished with the first journey across that stage, she is now first grader. She is excited to finally be in “a grade” as she calls it.
Tonight was harder than I expected. Tonight I realized the old sayings are all painfully true…the days really can be long, but oh my are these years way too short.
This piece can also be read on Today Parents here.