This morning after everyone else had left, S and I finished getting ready for preschool. We found matching socks, and braided her hair. With her backpack on, I saw my big girl off.

At lunch time, she jumped out of the neighbor’s car and ran to house, backpack bouncing behind her. With shining eyes she showed me her painting and hung up her jacket.

After lunch, I lifted her up into the air. “What will I do without you next year, when you don’t come home at lunchtime?” I asked. She giggled, and I could tell how excited she was for this big change, the adventure of a lifetime. Kindergarten.

In these early days of spring, the realities of next fall are shrouded in mist, as they must be. But they remind me to enjoy every minute of these springtime days, the play-dough and tricycle mornings of the innocent preschool years.

After ten years, the brightly colored things of preschool are fading into the rear-view mirror: nursery songs, puzzles, games, ABCs, colors, and shapes. Coming ahead are chapter books and birthday parties, homework and friends. Strange, how these things have built themselves into my understand of life and family. Strange, how certainly they will be left behind.

I love you, my big girl, my four-and-three-quarters daughter, my baby. You are so eager to meet the years before you; and I am so privileged to walk alongside you.

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