by Heather Freeman, click here to get all our posts.
Bailey’s last day of middle school is today. It’s amazing and hard. Seasons of change bring on emotions wrapped in complexity and unravel within with ferocity. I’ve been a student & teacher of navigating the changes of seasons in girls for close to 15 years now, and I learned something new today.
There are moments in time that naturally create a break between yesterday and tomorrow. These moments bring great joy and sadness – at the same time, nonetheless. Opposite in nature, they set off a rhythmic dance inside. Controlling one lets the other loose. Letting one roam wildly, shutters the other silent. Keeping both in check allows me to ride the wave.
The last time I felt rocked by mixed feelings of joy and sadness was when I stood at the end of the driveway as Bailey stepped up onto the big yellow bus for her first day of kindergarten. A heart full of pride yet heavy that our countless days of 'just us' time was behind us, a saying goodbye to a carefree season of her life.
Yet, this one feels more substantial. This next season is the last between our cozy knit family of four to a season of life on her own. It requires a letting go of what has been, a letting in of all the opportunity and excitement for what’s next.
It’s a moment that takes my breath away. I fight to release the heartache and embrace the joy.
To fully experience it is exhilarating.
That's how mothering has always felt to me.
I’ve shared as many life lessons as I could with Bailey – those that were passed on to me to and those I picked up on my own journey. And she consistently teaches me more than I could ever have imagined. Over time I've witnessed myself stretch into someone who is comfortable feeling the hardship and the joy, and all the in-between as they happen.
Part of her graduation experience includes a Rites of Passage Presentation. She began her speech talking about her friends, passions, and accomplishments from her middle school years that shaped who she is today. She listed her friends and shared the lessons each had taught her. Slowly, tears began to well up in her eyes. At which point my eyes welled up and overflowed with tears.
She’s a girl with a big heart. A lot of emotion, positive and negative are wrapped into her last 3 years. Often, I worry about whether she’ll be O.K. out in the world which can at times be cruel. But today, just as she has at every season of her life, proved to the world she’ll be O.K.
With tears streaming down her face, she paused. I did the momma thing and outstretched my arms for a hug. She wiped away the tears and pressed on with her presentation remarking how each friend, activity, and accomplishment left a lasting impression and how each will lead her into her next season.
Now’s the toughest part of mothering – letting go and being there.
Bailey, it’s time for you to step into your next season. It’s time to continue nurturing your strengths in bigger, more personally meaningful ways. Today we celebrate the past, hold you up for all you are, and look toward your future with confidence and joy. While you continue to stretch your wings before taking flight – I’m here for you. Always.
Now, I would love to hear from you.
In the comments below, let me know:
- Am I pausing to recognize all the emotions that come with a girl's season of change?
- What can I do to let go and yet still be there for her?
- What's worth celebrating today?
Please, share as much detail as possible in your reply.
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With so much love,
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