My daughter goes to the afternoon session at her preschool. The other day as the clock struck 11 a.m. and my ‘get-ready-for-school’ reminder alarm went off I said, “Mags! Let’s get you dressed. We’re going to leave for school soon.” (I have to set alarms for everything or I’ll forget...everything.)

She was mid-puzzle or mid-tower building, I forget, but she said, “Mom, I don’t want to go right now, I want to play at home. I love being home with you, Mommy.”

My oldest daughter is a social butterfly. She looooves going to school and seeing her friends. So I was surprised. I asked if she was feeling okay and reminded her of how much she loves going on adventures at school and she simply said that she was already having fun right now, doing what she was doing.

We eventually got dressed and she happily ran off to school when I pulled up at drop-off, but her words stuck with me the rest of the day.

“I love being home with you, Mommy.”

She loves being home—in our house—with me. Not doing anything fancy. Not being entertained every single second. Not wanting for anything, really. Just enjoying my company and her selection of toys.

And then for some reason it hit me: One day she is going to leave our home to call somewhere else home. I let myself sit with this realization for a bit.

I did this to my parents—I left New York to call Massachusetts home. It will be totally natural and expected for her, and my other children, to call somewhere else ‘home’ one day. (I’m hoping they’ll at least stay in the same state though. Sorry, Mom and Dad.)

But it does hurt. It hurts now, and I only imagine it will hurt a million times more the day I drop her off at college. Or the day I move her into her first apartment. Or the day she moves into a house that isn’t the one we share together.

Because right now I am the moon and stars and planets to her. And her to me. We revolve around each other. It’s mostly about us, in our safe little solar system we call ‘home.’

But one day she’s going to branch out and go off into the world in search of adventure and meaning and her place in life. And I want her to. That’s what all my hard work is for now—to give her the tools and skills and confidence to be brave and follow her path.

So it’s great. It’s the point of my role of as her mother.

But, my baby, I just want you to know—

I hope you always think of me and my heart as ‘home’—that you always know I am with you in spirit wherever you are. And that I’d be with you physically should you ever need me—as fast as humanly possible.

I hope your home is always filled with as much love as we have in our house right now—with slobbery kisses and family hugs and someone singing your praises like you do mine.

I hope your home is always filled with tolerance and forgiveness and room to grow and improve. Our house, and everything that happens within its walls, isn’t perfect and that’s okay. We are learning and growing together and I hope you have that safety to fail and make mistakes and learn from them wherever you call ‘home.’

I hope your home is always filled with as much joy and happiness as it is with us here, every day—with squeals of excitement over the new Trolls TV show and fits of laughter over a funny dance move and the biggest smile when we lock eyes for the first time in the morning.

I hope I remember to appreciate this time at home with you. Some days I feel like we’re cooped up too much, or I’ve been staring at the inside of our house for too long. But then you say something about loving your home and I realize: this is our safe haven. This is where you feel most comfortable.

So for now, I’ll stop pressuring myself to bring you to this play place and that play date and this museum and that adventure center. Sure, we will do those things here and there, but I will remember to stop and appreciate these beautiful everyday moments that are happening right under my nose, right here in our home.

If I’m going to be really, really honest—I hope your home is never too far from me. I don’t know how people’s hearts handle that. But, I have to be prepared for that possibility. Your journey will take you where you’re supposed to go.