I remember when we first shared the news that we were expecting you.

One question seemed to pop up, over and over. So many of our loved ones warmly and excitedly asked,

"Are you ready?!"

Now, I know there's really no way a first time expectant mother can truly be prepared, or understand all the hard and beautiful that's about to unfold.

But the truth is, my heart was ready.

I was ready for the holding.

That's the piece of motherhood that I anticipated. What I thought everyone was referring to. The part I prepared for and imagined.

I was ready to hold you... I was ready to rock you in our special chair. I was ready to stand and sway back and forth with you. I was ready to gently bounce and whisper "sh sh shhhhhh" in just the right rhythm and way, that only I knew would soothe you. I was ready to comfort you. I was ready for the dark midnight feedings. I was ready to cook dinner with you on my hip. I was ready to deal with your toddler tantrums. I was ready to read to you at bedtime. I was ready to loose bits of sanity while trying to juggle the needs of a family. I was ready to give you all that I had.

I was ready to embrace motherhood, holding onto you with everything in me. I was ready to embrace you.

I knew I'd be tired (well, maybe I didn't quite know how tired). I knew it'd be hard (and maybe I didn't quite know how hard).

But I was ready.

I was ready for the holding.

There's another part of motherhood though. One my unknowing heart didn't yet comprehend.

The letting go.

I wasn't ready for the letting go.

But pretty quickly I learned there was no avoiding it.

If you were to roll or crawl, I needed to let go. If you were to take those first wobbly steps, I needed to let go. If you were to thrive in a classroom, I needed to let go. If you were to run through a field or hop stones over a creek, I needed to let go. If you were to get lost playing imagination with a friend, I needed to let go. If you were to know the thrill of proudly saying "I do it myself," I needed to let go.

I know now, it's part of us. It's forever part of you and me. The hold on, and the let go.

You'll dance, you'll learn, you'll fall, you'll get up, you'll build relationships, you'll chase passions, you'll talk to God, you'll adventure. And over and over, I'll have to let go.

It's wild you know. Because I jump up and down with joy for every step of your path. I'm cheering and guiding and loving you through, as you find your own way. But inside there's always a bit of grieving I need to do as we go, quietly letting go and saying goodbye to different parts of motherhood.

Logically, I knew that children grow up and that means parents must ease up on the holding. That there's no learning to fly, if the baby birds never leave the nest. But like so many things in life, you don't actually know until your heart is on the line.

I was always ready to hold you. I've had to learn to let you go.

But my love, there is one more thing about all this that you should know. The being ready to hold you, that never goes away. And no amount of letting go could change that.

Wherever you may be, whatever time, however old, I'm ready to hold you.

I was ready then, and I'll always be ready... for you.

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