What you say to your daughter on her last day of school

This morning Mya slowly climbed into my bed and cuddled into me. We remained still and silent for a few minutes before she turned to me and asked, "Mama, does today really have to be the last day of school?" Yes baby, it does. She didn't reply; she just turned her head away from me and stared at the empty space next to the bed. "Mom, I don't like today," she said after a long silence.

Today is hard day for me too. On September 2nd, the night before Mya's first day of school, I struggled with different emotions as I wrote this post. Nine and a half months later I feel a new wave of emotions lumping in my throat. Mya has excelled so much at school this year. She has learned so much Spanish that she can carry on small conversations with bilingual kids at the pool. She has also mastered numbers and is beginning to understand math in ways I never thought possible. I had honestly tried everything to get numbers to stick, but she just couldn't grasp it. Now she does. She is an excellent reader and writer. At night when there isn't much to do, she often sits at the table and just writes to people, mostly to me. I cherish all of her misspelled letters, and I love when she reads to me.

I left the girls upstairs watching their quiet time as I prepared their backpacks and snacks for school. I found myself tearing up with each step. I'll admit I've been overly emotional lately (I cried during the NBA finals the other day...whaaaatt?). The morning was quiet like normal until it was time to get in the car. For some reason, those final five minutes of loading things/little people into the car always turns into a nightmare. I'm sure my neighbors think I am crazy for all the things I threaten the kids with just to get in the car. As we drove to school in unusual traffic, Mya asked, "Mom, can I ask Mrs. Walters to come for one extra week? I'm not ready to be done." I shook my head slowly. Sorry, I bet she's going on vacation. Or maybe she needs to take an extra long nap. Or visit her grandkids.

In that moment I realized neither of us is ready for summer. We know that summer means change, and change means stretching ourselves to new limits yet again. San Diego is not what Milwaukee was for our family. In fact, it has been something different entirely; however, it has been so good to us. We've all grown up a lot out here. In a lot of ways, we have felt more isolated and alone and free to be us, which I think has let us spread our awkward wings more than we could've ever expected. Leaving San Diego means our wings will involuntarily tuck themselves away for awhile until they find their space to fly again. It means leaving friends and teachers who we've loved so deeply. It means leaving the beach, Sea World, the museums, etc.

So today when Mya looked at me for that slice of wisdom she hoped I'd have, I just looked at her told her to be brave and to show all the love she felt in her heart to her friends and teachers. And I told her to swing as high as she could on her favorite swing and to feel as happy as she could on this her final day of transitional kindergarten.

She agreed, and when I arrived to pick up Genevieve I looked to my right and saw Mya swinging high in the sky on her favorite swing. My brave girl will continue to be brave, and she will find a new favorite swing in Texas. I just know it.

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