How is it that the first day of school can be such a dichotomy of emotions – at the same time completely hope filled and completely anxiety ridden? Although my first-time kindergartener and first-time preschooler shed no tears today when they were dropped off in their strange new worlds, ready to take on whatever challenges awaited them, their Mama sure did! The moment I had them safely and happily deposited in their classrooms and I was alone in the car, I burst into tears. My brain, which was sure of their safety and convinced they were in the best place for their growth and development, fought with my heart, which seemed determined to dredge up images of tiny fists grabbing single fingers for security and tiny eyes looking up into mine with complete trust while nursing in the night and tiny feet taking first steps. Who can compete with those images? So of course, my heart won the fight and my head surrendered briefly to the tears. Briefly. And then it took up arms again and reminded me that this is what it’s all about! Parenting is about raising independent, strong-minded individuals. It is about sending them out into the world to have experiences all their own and believing that the values you’re instilling in them will carry them through. It is as much about trusting them when you know they are capable as it is about them trusting you to help make them so. And as pride began to win the fight against pining, I was reminded, once more, of the importance of seizing the moment – living in it and experiencing it to its fullest – and not waiting until it’s gone to fully appreciate its worth. Today was one small step for little boys, one giant leap in the journey of motherhood.