As I dropped my eldest off for her first day of school yesterday I felt her growing pains; I felt them in my chest like a dull throbbing ache, it was a pain I couldn’t swallow, every tiny thought brought tears to my eyes and an ache in my jaw and throat.
I don’t know what it is about that first day of school but I feel like in some way I have handed her over, like I’ve done my bit and now she’s on her own to fend for herself in the big wide world, I know that’s crazy after all she is only 4 and my ‘work’ is far from over but that’s how it feels.
How time flies
I really don’t know where the time has gone, it seems like only moments since I stared into her eyes for the very first time falling hopelessly in love, devoting my every breath to her and tending to her every single need. Now it’s ‘I can do it’ ‘I don’t need any help’ and whilst I love her independence it also creates a little ache in my heart.
As I picked her up after her first day of school I’ve never been so happy to see her, holding back the tears we walked the whole way home hand in hand chatting about her day. I breathed it in. I held every word and moment in my mind, I squeezed her hand that little bit tighter knowing that soon she won’t want to hold mine, the very thought makes me swallow hard, the aches return and I know these pains I feel are growing pains, not my own but my baby girl’s. She’s growing up so fast and whilst I love seeing her bloom I also want to hold on so tight and protect her like a delicate flower; I’m torn.
Those baby blue eyes still pierce my heart every time I look at them but they are so wise, far wiser than their 4 earthly years, I know she is here to teach me more than I can ever teach her.
Learning to fly
Motherhood has certainly been an eye opener for me and I have learnt far more about myself and about life in the past 4 years than I have in my other 30. I feel like the caterpillar wrapped tightly in the cocoon of motherhood and every day I’m growing and learning, every day I feel a little stronger and more confident and any day now I’m going to burst out of that cocoon into the beautiful butterfly I was born to be. I am going to fly high living my dream and I thank my children for all of it, they have taught me so much. Motherhood certainly has its ups and downs, it tests you, challenges you and makes you question life like never before, it forces you to look at aspects of yourself you would rather avoid, it shows up little flaws you did so well at hiding; the impatience, irritability, the need for control. When we consciously accept these challenges and flaws and bring awareness to them we can start to change them, these are the growing pains of motherhood; the guilt, the worry, self-doubt, feelings of not being good enough, resentment, exhaustion and judging. When we accept that we are no longer a caterpillar but we are in the process of growing into a butterfly the journey becomes a little smoother, it takes time to transform so we need to be gentle on ourselves, we may not be perfect but we are good enough, we may not always get it right but we try our best, we may not know all the answers but we try to find them. It’s not just our children who are growing up fast! Remember to be gentle and nurture yourself as you grow too, we are all just learning to fly.
My daughter is not mine, she is not my possession she is my gift to cherish until the day she is able to fly off on her own, between now and then I can only do my best to prepare her for the world, I know that every step of her journey will bring new growing pains for both of us and I’m ready for it, I am ready to hold her hand when she needs me to and as heart-breaking as it is to let go when I need to too.
It’s time to let go, to feel the ache in my heart as my child reaches yet another milestone and know that it’s taking us both on another magical journey; as my child grows so do I. It’s time to let my baby fly and for now, while she’ll still allow me to, I will fly right by her side.
With love on butterfly wings,
I would love as always to hear from you, has you little one started school this week? How have you both found it? How do you feel motherhood has changed you?