It happened just before Thanksgiving. My shy hiding-her-face-in-the-folds-of-my-clothing, comforted in the knowledge that I was ‘just outside the door’ of her ballet class daughter, requested that I drop her off at class and then leave.

She made her request in the nicest of ways. “Mama, how about if you drop me off and then take some time for yourself, it’s such a hectic time of year for you.”

“Honey, I’m good, I’ll just knock out a lecture or two. I’ve got stuff to keep me busy.”

My response was met with a palatable silence. Not even crickets were going to interrupt it.

“No, Mom. Really. Take some time. Have some coffee… Window shop even.” (I paused at this, wondering what alien had taken possession of my dot, as everyone, even the dog, knows that Mama doesn’t window shop.)

“I can stay, it’s not a problem.” I hesitantly replied.

“No. Mom. Leave. Go. Really. It’s time.”

And with that, we parted in silence. She bounded out of the car and into the studio and I lingering for a moment, watched as my grown and confident young lady laughed, socialized and wildly gestured a story with her friends.

As I drove away, I learned how to breath again… the sting of mom-hurt, taking hold as I realized that my delightful little one is growing and spreading her confident wings, and my role in her life is changing.

I’ve felt this emotion before. When she no longer wanted to hold me hand when we walked across the street, when she didn’t want me to wait for her before school started for the day, and as she put together her last two Girl Scout presentations.

For all of my friends who have told me when I felt overwhelmed and knee deep in the muck of parenting two toddlers and then preschoolers to take 15 or so minutes to relax and then breath it all in and enjoy every possible moment – because their time as children is fleeting – I THANK YOU!

My nearly middle-schooler is quickly shedding any semblance of the child she used to be, and while I am thankful to be the one who gets to watch her grow and rise to meet the challenges of the world around her, I know that I will miss being able to see her in the day-in-day-out once she gains entry into the adult world.

It will then be time for me to watch from the sidelines and cheer her on as her friend and mentor. And I’ll be honored to be there for her.

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