In the past week I think I’ve cried more than I have in my entire life… & if you know me, then you know that is A LOT of crying.
My mother always says, “We are a crying, laughing, hugging, kissing kinda family… if you don’t like that… then you won’t fit in.” She couldn’t be more accurate. My friends know that I cry… weekly. My family knows that I cry… way too much & my poor husband knows that on any given day, a good book, a funny movie, good food, Holland giving me a kiss or Robin (with Peloton) saying something inspirational, I could bust into tears.
Well, this past week (more like two), has been overwhelming, exciting, joyful & full of emotion. Holland turned one on February 1st, so naturally all week, anything that didn’t fit her, or any photo I came across of her that was anything previous to that day… would make me weep. Which brings us to day. Today was her first day of “school”. I didn’t exactly prepare myself for today, I’m not even sure that I could. But, it came natural, as if we had done if before. Paul & I woke up early, got ourselves ready then Holland woke up, we got her dressed, fed & into the car, like it was nothing. Until… it hit me.
Today was her FIRST day of school. The first day that would start her next (presumably) 23 years of learning, studying, making friends, memories & creating a future for herself.
The day she was born, I always knew this day would come. It’s just.. I never knew how fast it would, how hard it would be & in that very moment (pulling down our street), exactly how my parents felt every time I hit a milestone that created a lump in their throat or that tear in their eye.
Today was that day for me.
I couldn’t swallow back that lump, I couldn’t hold back those tears & I couldn’t let go of Holland’s hand – the entire drive to school.
I never knew how much I loved her until I saw her on the sonogram.
I never knew how much I needed her until I met her.
I never knew how much my patience would be tested until she cried all night the first night we brought her home.
I never knew how much I wanted to breastfeed, until I couldn’t.
I never knew how much my relationship with my husband would change, for the better. We are a team.
I never knew how much in life I was lacking until she showed me the true meaning.
I never knew how much I wanted to stop time until each monthly photo I took of her.
I never knew how much I would hate letting her go today. No one warned me. No one said, “Kate, it’s going to hurt like hell as you walk away.”
I never knew how much I would miss her until I couldn’t watch her on our security cameras at home.
I just never knew…
What I do know now, is that time flies. Everyone said it… they made sure of that. But, it doesn’t really sink in until you have “one of those moments” like mine: when I realized my baby was walking, talking, & waving “bye-bye” as she went to music time.
So my little Valentine, here is a poem that I will hold near & dear to my heart. To remind me to cherish each day, the good & the bad… because you are only little once & only for a little while.
“From the moment you hold your baby in your arms you will never be the same. You might long for the person you were before, when you had freedom and time and nothing in particular to worry about. You will know tiredness like you never knew before. Days will run into days that are exactly the same. Full of feedings and burping. Nappy changes & crying. Whining & fighting. Naps or a lack of naps. It might seem like a never-ending cycle. But don’t forget… there is a last time for everything & babies don’t keep.
There will come a time when you will feed your baby for the very last time. They will fall asleep on you after a long day & it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child. One day you will carry them on your hip & then set them down & never pick them up that way again. You will scrub their hair in the bath for one last time & from that day on they will want to bathe alone. They will hold your hand to cross the street & then will never reach for it again. They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles & it will be the last night you ever wake to this. One afternoon you will sing, “the wheels on the bus,” & do all the actions to never sing that song again..
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate & the next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone. You will read a final bedtime story & wipe your last dirty face. They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time… The thing is, you won’t even realize it’s the last time until there are no more times. Even then, it will take you a while to realize. So while you are living in these times, remember there are only so many of them & when they are gone… you will yearn for just one more day of them. For one last time.”