Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
OMG, I’m having all the feels. It’s the night before graduation and suddenly, I’m freaking the fuck out. How did it all go so fast. It feels like just yesterday I was reading that damn book The Night before Kindergarten. Where did the time go?
Am I really supposed to start letting her go? Already? I can’t. No, I won’t. I refuse.
Okay, I will but I don’t want to. I love this kid more than everything else in the world. Like take everything else but let me keep these girls. Oh, shit! Is this grief? Am I bargaining?
Wait. What? Who am I? Where am I? I don’t think I can do this. It hurts too much.
Wait? Is this labor? Am I in fucking labor? I know I can’t stop it. But I want off this runaway train. Okay, just slow down. Tomorrow.is.graduation.
This is not a fucking drill. My baby is graduating from high school and I.AM.NOT.OKAY! I won’t even pretend to be.
I’m freaking out. It’s like the universe is trying to steal my baby and human traffic her.
NO. Stop. I fucking refuse.
Fuck you, time. You cruel, unrelenting bitch.
Not my baby. Not today, Satan.
Oh God. I have to let her go. I have no choice. She is mine but she is her own. I raised her for this very moment.
Raised her to be strong, fierce, and independent.
I raised her to be confident and believe she can do all the things.
Yes, I raised her for the graduation of life from being my child to her own person.
I raised her to leave me.
Now, I have to let her.
Oh, but I don’t want to.
Yes, I am fully aware that I sound ridiculous and like a petulant child but I give no fucks. I don’t want to let her go.
It all started with that damn kindergarten.
It went too fast.
I wasn’t counting the years because I was fully immersed in the moments.
From the moment you were born, you filled me with so much love that I laughed and I cried simultaneously. I’d never experienced loving anyone as much as I did you in that moment.
I’ve spent the last 18-years of my life putting out fires and kissing booboos.
I was swaying and rocking. Meanwhile, holding tiny hands and filling my lap, saying I love you to the moon and back as many times a day as I could. I wanted to make sure it stuck.
Now, it’s the night before graduation and I’m not ready.
On other days, I was too exhausted to think and just tried to survive the day. But I was happy. For 18 years, even when I’ve been sad, exhausted or overwhelmed, my heart has been full because of you and your sister.
When the world made no sense, you were my why. When life was too hard, you were my reason. You are my hope for the future. Your graduation just puts a fine point on it all.
I spent years holding you as you drifted off to sleep to the sound of my voice reading Mrs. McNosh does the Wash over and over again in silly voices. I’ve probably read it a million times, however, I’d read it a million more. I was always happy to do it just to hear your sweet, tiny giggle.
I didn’t see the years for the moments.
Years spent driving you to ballet, gymnastics, or cheer but worth it to look in the rearview mirror and see you and your sister smiling. It was worth to see the look on your face when performed or got fitted for your first pointe shoes. It was worth it to see your months of practice pay off when you danced the Nutcracker.
I sat for hours in pick up lines and bleachers; watching you cheer, watching you sing, watching you play the violin, watching you dance and play soccer.
Always in awe and always with my chest puffed out and my heart overflowing with more love and pride than one body can contain. I wish that you could see you through my eyes.
I was watching you become you and I didn’t even know it.
Yes, I cried a lot. I cried and laughed when you were born because I couldn’t believe that I created such a perfect, tiny human.
I’ve cried from exhaustion when you wouldn’t sleep on those first nights home and kept cluster feeding.
I cried from guilt (more times than I can count) the day the doctor pricked your 3-day old foot to draw blood because you were jaundiced. I blamed myself.
I’ve wept so many tears of pride because of you. You are amazing and I am in awe of everything you do. I am obsessed with you and I’m not ashamed to say it.
I can’t wait to see what you do with this big, beautiful life you have ahead of you.
I’ve cried so many tears that you will never know about for so many reasons throughout your life and every single one of those tears was because I love you so damn deeply. Deeper than I knew was even possible.
You are the best thing I ever did, watching you grow up has been my biggest privilege and letting you go is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
I know you’re not running away tomorrow.However, I know, technically, nothing will change except that you will walk across the stage in your cap and gown and get your diploma. But, I know.
Despite my outward excitement, I know what happens next.
Tomorrow is the milestone that marks the beginning of the end of who you were and the start of who you will become.
I know tomorrow’s graduation marks the next phase of your life.
Tomorrow, I will be clapping louder and cheering harder than anyone else for you, just like always. I won’t be able to contain my pride.
But I’ll also probably be laughing and crying at the same time, just like I did the moment they laid you on my chest at 4:51 P.M. on the day that you were born. The day I became a mom.
Don’t mind me, I’m just loving you harder as I begin to let you go. I’ll be missing you before you ever leave because…
It will be hard for me. It’ll probably be excruciating. You know that letting go is not my forte.
But you also know that I am so fucking proud of you. So proud of who you have always been. Proud of who you are today, who you will be tomorrow, and who you are becoming. I always will be.
Even though this is the time when I have to let you go a little, I will always be right here where you left me. I’ll always be your mom, your biggest fan and your best friend.
Love you to the moon and back, forever and ever.
Congratulations, baby girl. You’re altogether more amazing than I could’ve ever imagined. Certainly, cooler than I ever was. You’ve got this and I’ve got you.
Congratulations, Izabella and all of the class of 2023.
Hugs to all the class of 2023 mamas. I know it fucking hurts especially, since we raised them for this moment. You did great mamas. We’ve got this.
Now, where’s my box of Kleenex and waterproof mascara?