The Slow Letting Go :: The Invisible Passing of Milestones

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Every once in a while, I look at my children and realize I’ve missed something. They’ve learned a new skill, grown an inch, or passed a milestone, and I somehow missed it.

The milestones come and the changes seem to happen so incrementally that I don’t notice (or perhaps the distraction of daily life prevents me from fully witnessing them). It can be hours, days, or weeks later when I realize that I missed the ending or the beginning of something meaningful.

A few weeks ago, my daughter moved into her big girl bed. It happened quickly and out of desperation. Bedtime had become an epic struggle, and in hopes of avoiding more tears, we set up her bed and removed the crib. Honestly, I didn’t expect it to stick. But when she saw the bed, she was elated and went to happily to sleep. Only later that night did I achingly realize I am a mom who no longer has a child in a crib.

I recently saw the diaper bag hanging by the back door and realized I hadn’t used it in months. My daughter is now potty trained. But riding on the high of that win, I didn’t see the chapter that was closing.  I am now a mom who doesn’t need a diaper bag.

This fall, my oldest will start kindergarten. I don’t think I will believe it’s real until I see him take his backpack and walk into school. I wonder if, even in that moment, I will fully understand everything that means. I will be a mom with a child in school.

Lately, the milestones are becoming bigger and coming more quickly.

My children are no longer babies. They are hardly even toddlers. While I am excited for what the future holds, I am already starting to miss the tiny fingers, snuggles, and the ‘small’ problems of having young children.

I’m starting to see that parenting is the art of slowly letting go.

My children need me a bit less every day, but they are growing slowly, so I do not always notice the sting of the band-aid being removed. I pray that my moments of clarity about what is gone are overshadowed by the joy of what’s arrived and what’s coming.

I do not know when the last time will be that my son or daughter will ask to be picked up, read to, snuggled with. I’ll probably miss that milestone in the moment and only realize it later. So I’ll try to linger in the present, not rush the future and be grateful for the slow letting go.

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Jaclynn knows a good thing when she sees it, that’s why she and her husband, Dave, decided to raise their son and daughter in Brookfield, the same Milwaukee suburb where they grew up. After earning her English degree from UW-Madison, Jaclynn attended Marquette University Law School and worked for several years at a small Milwaukee firm practicing estate planning and elder law. When her son was born a few year ago, she followed her heart and became a SAHM. She is now the mother of two, having welcomed a daughter last June. When she's not managing her family circus, you can find Jaclynn instructing or taking classes at the Barre Code. Jaclynn would be lost without dessert, family friendly breweries, books, comfy pants, and the moms who have helped her navigate the labyrinth that is ‘momming’.

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