Chicago mom shares back-to-school tears

Wednesday was the first day of school. My spring babies always seem to sprout up in the final weeks of summer. Suddenly looking longer and leaner. New shoes and haircuts, the surefire way to clutch my mama heart and make my kids look older, bigger. Standing in front of our house in their carefully picked out first day outfits they looked both so big and still so small to be in first and third grade.

I wasn’t choked up as I moved around busying myself with figuring out new routines and orders. Making sure we start of the year on solid {organized} footing. No I was choked up the day before. As my kids ran around outside with the neighbors enjoying their last free moments of summer break I broke down over a shirt on a hanger. Actually it wasn’t just a shirt; it was several little moments that day before school began.

My big girl seemed so little as we made our way through the store for a few last-minute items and a first day of school outfit. Her heart set on a dress in the little kids section, the largest size they had as too small. While it would have fit her unwashed for one day it was not worth spending money on. Defeated she headed to the big girls section and I almost broke down. The clothes were so big, so mature. Styles I would wear if I were ever so skinny again.

Here she wandered the aisles, fingering this and that. Overwhelmed by the choices and not very sure which aisle she would fit in, what styles she wanted to try. My heart in my throat I started putting together outfits that meet both dress code (not as easy as one would think) and her requirements (pink or purple). We did finally settle on an outfit with flutter sleeves in bright pink and a pair of long shorts. As I hung it on her hanger, placing a necklace around the top, ready and waiting for her in the morning I choked up. I could see my pre-teen, my teen daughter right before my eyes. I could see her navigating that same path, trying to figure out where she fits in, what side of the aisle she is on.

It scares me.

To have a daughter and to help her navigate these transitions — from toddler to girl, from girl to woman. It took me 30 years to come into my own and know who I was, be comfortable in my own skin. I choke with fear as she marches off to her new first grade classroom, biting back her own tears of fear and apprehension. Can I do this? Can I teach her to navigate these waters and learn to swim when it took me so long to figure it out myself?

I must, it’s my job.

So I squeeze her tight, give her a big hug and send her on her way. Knowing that she is loved and will be guided as she starts on this path that will turn her into the woman she is meant to be.

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