I found out my whole world was about to get turned upside-down. Just like that.

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Two little blue lines, and I found out my whole world was about to get turned upside-down.

Just like that.

Nine months later, a few hours of labor, and the nurse placed your tiny little gooey body gently on my chest and I became a mother. From that very first breath, I gave you my body and my heart and you became my whole world.

Just like that.

Two days later, and we left the safety of our hospital room. We drove 10 miles an hour down the road, and I sat in the back and watched you, just to be sure you were safe. We walked you through the front door and our house became a home instantly over-flowing with love.

Just like that.

Six months later, and you learned to move and get around and put every little thing you found inside your mouth. You learned to walk. You learned to climb. You learned to jump and everything got a whole lot busier.

Just like that.

About a year later, and you said your first word, and lots and lots of words after. You said sentences and learned to whistle and everything got a whole lot noisier.

Amy Weatherly

Just like that.

Five years later, and you held my hand so tight as we stood in front of the big, school doors. I knew it was time to let you go. I knew it, but I didn’t feel it. I was scared and you were scared. Would the other kids be nice? Would you know where your pencils were? Would you remember your teacher’s name? Would you make friends? Would you have a place to sit in the cafeteria? Would you find the note I left in your lunchbox – the one with the big red heart – the one that would remind you that my heart is with you?

I got down on my knees, gave you a hug and promised you’d be great. I let you go, and to this day, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I cried for an hour afterwards and just wandered the aisles at Target, trying to fill up my time while thoughts of you filled up my mind. And the amount of time I get to spend with you every day got a whole lot shorter.

Just like that.

It’s been longer than I want to admit now. I can’t remember the last time you laid on my chest, or the last time you needed me to help you pour your own glass of milk. I can’t remember the last time you let me pick out your clothes, or fell asleep in my arms. It’s been a while since you mispronounced words, or got nervous walking into school. It’s been a while since you fit in the stroller, or held my hand in the parking lot. It’s been a while since you were a baby, since you needed me to baby you.

We have real conversations now. You tell me your opinions. I can’t believe you’re old enough for opinions. We have traded in sleepless nights for nights at the baseball field, and teeny-tiny onesies for one pair of new sneakers right after another. We have traded in broken crayons for broken hearts.

Amy Weatherly

You tell me your feelings in such grown-up words, sometimes I can’t believe how smart you’ve become. We’ve traded in Sesame Street for riding your bike down the street to visit your best friend. We’ve traded lullabies for “Bye son, have a great day.” We’ve traded in bottles of formula for bottles of Gatorade, and piles of toys for piles of dirty laundry. We’ve traded in piggy back rides for rides to drop you off with your friends.

Just like that.

Suddenly, I realize I’m loving you to leave. I’m training you today to build your own tomorrow. I’m setting you up to set up your own future. I’m giving you everything I have so you’ll be strong enough to give yourself a successful life down the road.

Suddenly, I realize my baby’s not a baby. Suddenly, I realize my baby is a big boy, quickly becoming a man, a little more so every day.

Amy Weatherly

You’ll always have the same grip on my heart as you did that very first day, but I’m learning to loosen my grip on your hand. I’m learning that if I want you to soar in the skies, I’m gonna have to let you fly out of the nest first.

I’ll always be right here, with arms wide open. But every day, you get a little taller. Your voice gets a little deeper. Every day, you take one step closer to the backdoor.

Before I know it, you’ll be out and off and on your way to build your own set of doors.

Before I know it, you’ll be walking across the stage to receive your diploma and down the halls of your new dorm. You’ll be walking into your first day at the office and down the aisle with your new bride. You’ll be walking into the hospital to hold your own baby and you’ll understand how fast time really flies.

That baby will grab your fingers and grab every part of your heart and you’ll truly understand for the very first time just how deep a parent’s love runs.

Just like that.

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amy Weatherly. The article originally appeared here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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