I’ll always be your hand to hold

I have mentioned before that my daughter will start kindergarten this fall.  She turned 5 in October.  I knew this day was coming.  It isn’t a surprise.  However, I still don’t know which school she’ll be going to.  We have some decisions to make and a few options available to us.  Right now we are sorting through those options and so I am starting to realize how difficult sending her to kindergarten is going to be for me, even though it is most certainly best for her.  (Yes, I know all sorts of homeschoolers who love it, but it is not for us.)

As part of our quest to find the right school for her, a couple of weeks ago she went to one school for some testing.  The kid is smart and there are a couple of gifted programs that require testing.  I don’t care so much whether she gets into gifted programs, but I think it would be a good fit for her and we’re trying to leave all of our options open, so we went.  This school decides sooner than others.

I got her all ready to go.  We talked about how they’d have different things for her to do and that she should try her best but not worry and all sorts of stuff like that.  We sent her brother to stay with my parents and the two of us ventured out.  She wasn’t really nervous or excited.  I was a bit anxious, because I worry about whether we’re doing the right thing and I never want her to feel pressured and, well, I’m just a mom and we’re good at worrying and being anxious.

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She was fine.  We were fine.  Until we turned the corner on the way to the counseling office and ran into a classroom of perhaps third graders who came streaming out on their way to lunch or somewhere.  They weren’t rowdy or inappropriate, but there were quite a few of them and they surprised us.  Lexiana immediately grabbed my hand.  She needed my comfort as she continued walking forward.  Oh that kid!  She will never know it, but I needed her hand just as much in that moment.  I was hit afresh with how my baby girl is becoming a big girl and all too soon she’ll be one of those third graders lining up and going about her school day without me.  We held hands tightly for a minute and kept each other safe and in check.

I know that the time is coming not too far away when she won’t always want to hold my hand or cling to me.  She grows more and more independent daily, but I want her to always know that while I am working so hard to let her go and let her explore and live her life that I will always be her hand to hold — whether that’s literally or figuratively.  When she is worried or afraid or just uncertain, I will be there for her.  When she takes a step of independence and falters, I will be there for her.  I will always be that hand to hold even when she is grown.  I will be there.  I will reach for her as she reaches for me.  We’ll find our way together through all life has to bring.  Whatever hard times come her way, I will always be her hand to hold.

I continue to take steps forward toward letting her go a bit more all the time.  It both breaks my heart and makes my heart burst with excitement and joy at the same time.  I can’t see her fly if I never let her leave the nest.  And I have a feeling this kid of mine is going to soar with her big heart and her intelligence.  But she is going to have falls along the way.  There will be mean girls and young love.  There will be difficult teachers and lost competitions.  It won’t all be easy, but learning to fly isn’t easy.  I can only promise her that no matter what happens, I will always be her safe place to land and her hand to hold.  For now, I will just be there.  We will hold hands.  I will clasp hers tightly as she clasps mine.  I will quietly be thankful that she still needs me to help her when she’s overwhelmed, because sometimes I need her the same way.

This motherhood business is awesome and really darn hard sometimes.

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