So this is what they mean by “it goes fast.”

This morning, I walked a few steps behind Thalia once we entered through the heavy school doors, as requested. “Like I’m not even here,” I had assured her. Only today was different than it had been all week. Today I stopped once inside.

She kept going.

“I’m so so proud of you I said,” giving her a last squeeze and pulling my sunglasses down over my eyes. She bounded up the staircase, backpack dangling off her shoulders, toward the classroom and out of my sight without once looking back. Without once looking back to give me a wave or a wink or that thumbs up thing she does. She just went.

Then I cried.


35 thoughts on “So this is what they mean by “it goes fast.””

  1. I’ve been so focused on trying to get Jack to walk into his new school by himself I haven’t stepped back to think about how I’ll really feel when he actually does. Thanks for this moment you’ve shared.

  2. Yep too fast. My 5-year-old has never looked back when I drop him at school. My 3-year-old who started this year–bounds off to her classroom by herself as I check her brother in his Kindergarten class first. I come to her room and put her stuff in her cubby and she barely notices. It breaks my heart but also is so reassuring that I am doing my job right.

    You’ve raised her good Liz. Her confidence is a testimony to you.

  3. There is nothing more joyful than seeing your child grow up, become more confident and capable. . .

    And there is nothing more painful . . .

    ps As a tangential comment, do you all know about the newly opened Museum of Motherhood in NYC? The Gala grand opening event is tomorrow (Fri. 9/16) but if you are anywhere in, near or will be visiting NYC, please visit! Mothers need places like this to exist. Info. for them is at

  4. Does door slamming and yelling come shortly after this phase?

    If not in public at school at least at home she’s still your little girl =)

  5. Exactly. But I’ll echo what the Dalai Mama said about knowing that you are doing your job right.

  6. My oldest told me in grade one that I had to stop saying “I love you” out loud to her in public. It was embarrassing her. I was, however, allowed to say “elephant shoes” because that is code for I love you. Try mouthing it at someone…it looks like I love you. (try mouthing it to someone at work…free trip to HR!!) Anyway, she’s in college now, so yes the time goes really fast.

  7. Aw. Just this evening I saw my baby take her first steps on her own. Now I read your post, thinking that now I’m just teaching her how to walk and someday soon she will be like your Thalia – grown up and independent.

  8. Yeah, it’s one thing to want your kid to be independent and whole other to experience what that means. I feel your pain.

  9. I get it. Today to first grader sort of pushed me away, ever so slightly, as I leaned in to hug and kiss him good-bye (for the fifth time) as he was in line to walk into school. UM, REALLY? Already? My heart. It hurts.

  10. This is my first time commenting on your blog, which I have really enjoyed. My 21 month old son just started the 1/2 program at Montessori nearly three weeks ago. The first two weeks he bawled his little heart out and shrieked “Mommeee!” as the teachers hurried us parents out the door. I’ve never cried so hard or felt like such a crappy mother. I swore to make my husband do “the drop” off from then out because I knew I wouldn’t be able to take it. Flash forward to this week. He walked into class confidently, dropped his little backpack (okay threw) into his cubby and ran to his hug his new favorite teacher, Ms. Amy. He then turned around and said, “Bye, Mommy!” and blew me kiss. That was it. I was both relieved and alternately sad that his baby days are behind him.

  11. And that means you have done an excruciatingly wonderful job.

    Cruel how much that success hurts.

  12. Take 1: first steps. Take 2: childcare. Take 3: preschool. Take 4: kindergarten. Take 5: middle school. I’m feelin’ it too, big-time. PS. I love the “elephant shoes” comment. So sweet.

  13. Okay, fine. I give in. I’m going to cry my way through motherhood, just like I do everything else (it’s cool, lots of happy and excited tears; not all sad or mad). I cried yesterday on the boy’s first day of Kindergarten (he was working so hard to be brave). I cried today on the second day of Kindergarten (he couldn’t muster the same bravery). I cried reading this. I’ll cry when he walks into school alone, like Thalia, a confident, beautiful person on his own way. It’s all so wonderful. And, um, emotional. *Sniff*

  14. It does go so, so fast. But there will still be whole days that will be in slow motion. I promise.

  15. I just yesterday cried as my baby (2 years 11.5 months) sang the ABCs to me and all I could think of was him graduating college and getting married. That I would see him at his big day, and he would be holding his blanky and singing the ABCs. It makes you realize the breadth of your heart, and that it could ache in places you didn’t know you had. And also, that one day they will stop pooping on things.

  16. I have to send Kaitlyn to Kindergarten on the BUS, because Chris and I only have one car right now. That first day, she bounded up the steps of the impossibly huge bus like she’d been doing it her whole life. As the bus pulled away she looked at me out the window and blew me a kiss, and I just lost it. My baby! Being such a big girl! *sniff*

  17. God – I wish I was a children’s book author. Because that Elephant Shoes comment needs to be made into a book.

  18. I think that’s the hardest part. The part with the most mixed emotions – when they don’t look back. It happened with my daughter and I was so proud and so broken hearted at the same time. It does go WAY too fast.

  19. Amanda’s comment on an “excruciatingly wonderful job” really is a flawless description, isn’t it? Congratulations, Liz, on raising such a confident daughter. You are to be commended (between the tears of course) as is Thalia.

    1. Aw man, thank you so much. I don’t know if what I did was right or if just who she is, is right. Maybe a little of both?

  20. I got all teary letting my son go off with another mother to soccer practice the other day, for the first time. It’s hard letting go and yes, WAY. TOO. FAST.

  21. I’ve already announced I’m taking a day of when the eldest has her first day of school. I’ll most likely spend the entire day sitting in her room craddling her first booties and signing ‘Memories’ or something like that until it is time to go and pick her up.

  22. I guess that is just how it rolls. you kind of hope they will go right in. you kind of hope you raise them to be independent and stop needing you, and then when you have, when you do…. the heart breaks just that little bit

  23. Ugh, I cried the first time each of my babies slept in a different room from me at night, and marching off to school, and a million things in between. It does go too fast. But the other day I watched my nine year old hold her little brother’s hand as they walked together into the school and I felt a physical ache it was so sweet, and I love who they are now even if they need me less.

    (And I’m crazy about “elephant shoes”–how did someone discover that?)

  24. Beautiful post, I can picture the scene and feel you pride and sadness and happiness all mixed into one. 🙂 I am already getting glimpses of what is to come w/ my oldest boy who has started to do his first things on his own – gymnastics, soccer, etc. I am at my proudest watching him go out there, and know that I have to cherish every moment that he turns around and gives me a big wave through the window that just melts my heart. Thanks for sharing your story!

  25. Don’t worry, that’s a part of life. It goes fast and that’s how it is.. 🙂

  26. Wait until they hit the stage where they drive off without looking back.
    Or you’re planning to visit colleges.
    Or you realize your youngest is in her last years of elementary school while your oldest is in his last year of high school.

    It goes by fast. Much too fast. (I just wrote about it.) *hugs* to you and the many tears of pride, longing and joy you have ahead of you.

  27. Please stop making me cry… Your post reminds me of my now 6YOs first day at school. I think I cried for 1 minute in the building, then for about 2 hours at home, than returned to school 30 minutes early, spend those 30 minutes crying in the school yard, and then went inside to pick her up – desperately trying NOT to cry (didn’t succeed though). Thankfully things got better the day after. And, thankfully, she is a very cuddle-loving creature, so she still wants to hug me inside the classroom… I’m dreading the day that stops. Better not think about that, though. Happy thoughts, please!

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