Sunday, September 22, 2013

Letting Go

Source: Technocolor76

“I’m a big, big girl, not a baby, Mama,” Claire announces proudly.

“Yes, you are a big, big girl,” I say with a mix of emotions. The "double” big swells my heart. Yet, there’s also a wistful lump in my throat.

She is big, big. And she’s going to get bigger, bigger!

Today, I am happy and sad. I’m cheering her on her steady march towards childhood, while mourning the disappearance of my baby.

The complexity of my emotions takes me by surprise. Up until now, I have unequivocally celebrated each new milestone, and been completely mesmerized watching Claire’s growth. The particular milestone that has elicited such emotion surprises me too.

I thought I would be shouting from the rooftops, “hooray!”, when we got here. I anticipated yelling, “no more diapers”. I imagined some sort of ritualistic ceremony like setting the diaper genie on fire before throwing it off of a pier and into a river.

Potty training is tripping me up. How about that? Weird, huh?

It’s just that, with every milestone we’ve celebrated so far, some of the baby has still been there. We’ve started solids, learned to sleep through the night, to walk, to throw a ball and climb a wall at the playground, to say "I love you" -- just to name a few of my favorites. The baby has sat alongside each new big, big girl triumph. But potty training seems to have hit me symbolically as the door to babyhood slamming shut.

Today, we celebrate two rites of passage. I am now a mom who has experienced letting go. And Claire is a little girl.


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  1. You know I love this post ... it fits right along with my Letting Go series and reminds me of all the challenges we face as our girls grow up.

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

  2. I could so relate to this and I think I took Lily (my baby) starting pre-school the worst, because it was really like I had no more babies here at all, too. Up until then she still was home with me and napping in the afternoons, so I deluded myself into thinking she was still more a baby (even though she was potty trained). So, I read this and do know where you are coming from. I also happily linked up and thank you again for another week of this great linkup!! :)

  3. *Sniffle!* You nailed the emotions so well. What a strange duality - feeling pride over new accomplishments while simultaneously mourning the babyness gone by. I love watching my son become more and more little boy. But wow, there are days when I miss baby-him so much that it hurts.

  4. You remind me of how I feel every time I go through my kids' clothes. I'm excited to pull out all the fresh, new, bigger outfits and really sad to put all the precious little ones away.

  5. I am banning myself from reading your blog!! Beautiful post again Rachel. Only you could make toilet training tear jerking!!

  6. It never goes away- as a matter of fact, once you're a grandparent and see the kids who are now adults be parents to children who look just like your kids did, you'll be biting your tongue everytime they try to discipline. Talk about letting go!! Yeah, it never totally happens. BB2u

  7. Oh, I just got a lump in my throat, too! Henry is a little younger, but he seems so big to me now, too. Talking. Kissing. Saying "hug" when he wants to hug me and patting me on the back, just as I do to him. I agree with Ann, I'm going to ban myself from your blog (but not, of course).

  8. First of all, hooray for Claire! That is a proud moment, because potty training isn't easy (wasn't for us, anyway). Second, I definitely understand this as my son gets closer to going to Kindergarten. I think that will be the hardest for me so far, since I've enjoyed the preschool years the most. They're fun, you will like them. Be strong! :)

  9. Okay, I did fine until your last line! *sob*
    And congratulations!

  10. Woo hoo Claire! And woo hoo for being an awesome mom who realizes that while this means she is leaving a little bit of the baby behind, you are not losing your baby but gaining a little girl. Which is just as much fun. And by the way: she will always be your baby, it will come back at unexpected times.

  11. As always so succinctly and perfectly put. Bravo, Rachel.

  12. I SO relate to this, Rachel! Mine turns two this weekend, and keeps saying, "I be older!" I have no idea where she heard that. And I felt so sad when the canine teeth came in- she doesn't have that "baby grin" anymore. (And maybe next time I will link up on Sunday instead of Monday. Oops. Sorry. :/ )

  13. Oh Rachel, do I ever get this. Isaiah being 8 has tripped me up. He's such a big boy. I can't hold him or carry him. He wants to sleep in his own bed. He's ready to separate and I'm not....


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