A New Chapter
While five years seems like the briefest of periods that flew by in the blink of an eye, it has been full of momentous changes and wonderful accomplishments. Today marks a day of new beginnings; a new journey. As we enter the newest chapter in the book of your life, I am reflecting upon the prologue in our shared story - yours here on Earth and mine as a mother.
Together we lived through a chaotic birth comprised of 56 hours with my water broken, 12 hours of labour, an episiotomy, a forceps removal, and the heavenly joy of holding you in my arms for the very first time. We navigated the newborn phase of life, learning each other’s needs and growing together through some of the hardest days of my life. We figured out feeding schedules and nap transitions. We overcame sleep deprivation and loneliness, comforting each other in the middle of the night while the rest of the world slept blissfully unaware. We braved the elements, going out in sun, rain, sleet, and snow to forge new friendships and find new interests to keep us entertained.
We navigated the inevitable changes of life together. You began preschool where you embarked on your first journey of independence. You became a big sister and took to your role without hesitation. We moved houses, moved our hearts, built new friendships, and prioritized maintaining others.
I watched you grow in the most remarkable of ways. The 19-inches of you at birth has stretched into over 42-inches. Your chubby cheeks have thinned and your soft body has been replaced by hardened muscles. I have seen you outgrow shoe size after shoe size as the tags on your clothes went from baby to toddler to child sizes. I remember putting your hair in its very first ponytail and marveling at its length; now, your hair reaches the small of your back and can be swept up into any number of fashionable updos. I watched you go from crawling to walking, from walking to running, and then from running to somehow climbing ropes and doing monkey bars without a second thought. At 6 months, you babbled to entertain me and now you talk, sing, and perform to entertain yourself. You used to always miss the number 15 when counting, and now you can count until you are bored, read full books, and write imaginative stories.
And, while you grew, I grew too; learning my role as a mother on the job. I started to figure out the kind of parent I wanted to be, and how I could translate that into what you needed as my daughter. You taught me how to adapt, have patience, and when to take a step back. You showed me the importance of embracing the moment, seizing the day - lingering in the best parts of life a little longer than I would have previously. You let me see the world anew, through sparkling eyes of wonder, and with a heart open for love. And, as we waded through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, the bond that linked you and I grew stronger with each passing day.
So, here we are at the precipice of a new chapter: Kindergarten. I can’t help but feel emotional about the changes that are sure to come. Happy for you to branch out on your own; making new friends and learning all kinds of new things. Excited for what your future holds and all of the adventures school is sure to present you. Nervous that you won’t feel at ease - that you won’t find your path or you won’t enjoy it. It would be easy to let myself dwell on the negatives and to feel sad about this new beginning. You have, after all, been at my side for over 5-years now. I can count on my fingers the total number of nights we have spent apart from one another. Kindergarten marks the beginning of at least 13-years of schooling (I hope) and with that, the beginning of me not spending the majority of my waking hours with you. At this moment I feel like the bond that tethers us together, that we have built for 5-years, is at its weakest and furthest apart. I feel as though we are closing the chapter on your young years at home that belonged so much to me and this has me feeling as though my heart may burst through my chest.
So instead, I am choosing joy and allowing myself to feel all of the elation that awaits you in this new season of our life. I am taking comfort in the fact that the passing of these milestones are at testament to the job I am doing as your mother. The first 5-years of your life were spent preparing you for this - having the capacity to venture out on your own and the confidence to know that you have what it takes to conquer whatever you set your mind to. This is your first real step into the world and you get to show everyone all the things I know you already are.
I have so many hopes for you. I hope that you make friends but are also the kind of friend that others want to have. I hope that you are respectful and that you listen to your teachers. I hope that you find a passion for learning and that you blaze a trail that is uniquely your own. I hope you learn that it’s okay to fail when you have tried your absolute hardest. That getting up after falling down is hard, but it’s the most important step to success. I hope you learn that there is no substitute for hard work and no short cut to success. I hope you find your passions, express yourself, and never be something that isn’t authentically “you”. I hope you can be a champion for change and that you stand up for others when they need it most. I hope you can savour the process of growing up without longing for the future. I hope you take time to enjoy the ride, to relax, to unplug and just be. And finally, I hope you know that just because I am physically apart from you doesn’t mean that I am not walking each and every step of the journey alongside you.
Although I have these many hopes for you I have no dreams because I don’t have to dream for you. You, my sweet girl, dream big enough for yourself. Your dreams are all your own and I will support them in whatever way they manifest throughout your life.