I wasn’t prepared for all the emotions I’d feel watching my little one graduate from preschool. It feels like a new chapter is starting for us both. It was all new when we first started this journey of preschool together. The sign-in sheets and school drop-off routines. The tears and running out of the classroom doors. Learning that you would come home and tell me you had fun and missed me. Learning that we would both be OK. As you adjusted to a teacher and a classroom, I adjusted to going back to school and working. 

It took so much for us both to get here. You used to go to school with a favorite blanket that now, you don’t always ask for in the morning anymore (so many mornings and nights spent searching for that favorite blankey). And how we had to potty train one summer before your first Pre-K class started. It was hard for us both, but we did it together. 

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I love how much you love all of your Spider-man things you picked out for school and the pride with which you’ve shown those things to your classmates and teacher. I hope and pray you are always unapologetically you. 

Preschool has taught us both that change can be so hard, but it can also be so good.

I’ve watched you grow in self-confidence, and though you will always be my youngest boy and my baby, you are becoming more of your own person every day. I love how you tell stories and sing songs and have groovy and silly dance moves. I love how much you love Pizza Day at school. I love how you know what Hammerhead sharks are called and how much you love the porridge in the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” 

As I watch you up on that stage and watch your joy and enthusiasm, I know you will have so many moments to shine in the coming years. That there will be many more messes ahead. And tears cried for different reasons, due to different challenges. And that each new milestone, as small or big as it may be, is an opportunity to appreciate you and how you’re growing and changing and how our relationship is changing, too.

Preschool has taught us both that change can be so hard, but it can also be so good. I know one day too soon you won’t show me all the cool rocks and sticks you found outside. You might stop picking flowers for me, though I hope that you still will.  

Your early years have shaped us both. 

I’ll eventually stop finding half-finished snacks throughout the house, and race cars and dinosaurs. One day, picking out new toys from the dollar store or going to the splash pad together won’t be the same. One day, there might not be as many questions you ask that I can answer. 

But for now, I’m so grateful that giving your mom hugs is still cool, that you still love to hold my hand at the zoo, and that snow cones and popsicles are so exciting. That you still play with your toys all over the house and get lost in your own little world you’ve made. Your early years have shaped us both. 

Related: How to build your toddler's independence for school

Some people might tell me, “Well, it’s just a Preschool graduation.”  But if there’s anything that motherhood has taught me, it’s that what they say about blinking is really true. The next milestones and changes and seasons of parenting come before you are ready for them to. 

So, I’ll take every excuse to celebrate you and us both and how far we have come together—and how far we still have to go.