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Practicing Gratitude: Smiling through tears

Nichole Beaudry strives to capture the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments with her children. She earned her undergraduate degree in English from The University of Texas and her master’s in English from California State Un...

Kindergarten ready or not

When they hand you your first baby, there is no way you can possibly know just how quickly the years will pass. They’re tiny and completely dependent on you one moment and ready to conquer all the adventures that kindergarten holds the next.


Kindergarten, ready or not

When they hand you your first baby, there is no way you can possibly know just how quickly the years will pass. They’re tiny and completely dependent on you one moment and ready to conquer all the adventures that kindergarten holds the next.

So much lay ahead

As I lay with her beside me, I knew my life would never be the same.

The light from the hallway spilled into our hospital room and shone across her just-hours-old newborn face. Alone in our room, I stared at Katie for as long as I could keep my eyes open and each time I awoke to her tiniest shift or sigh, my chest tightened at the realization that she was finally here with me, this child we had waited for for so long.

After a yearlong infertility battle and a difficult pregnancy, she was just what my heart needed. She was the child I was meant to have and she made every moment of the struggle worth it.

When I looked at her in all her newness, all I could think of was all that lay ahead of us.

I was filled with anticipation, excitement and joy. I was so eager to experience the adventures in the coming years.

Magical years between

And those years with her have been magical. Katie has taught me more about myself in five years than I had learned about myself in over three decades.

Tomorrow, her father and I will drop her off for her first day of kindergarten and the lump is forming in my throat just thinking about it.

There in the hospital bed, I couldn’t have imagined how quickly these five years with her would pass. It seemed like she’d be home with me for an eternity before I would have to hand her over.

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In the blink of an eye

Where did our time together go?

Wasn’t it just yesterday that she pulled herself to the standing position with a big, drooly smile, beaming with pride?

How can it be that it’s been nearly three years since she welcomed her baby brother home with the open heart and jubilation of a 2-year-old?

I sat and talked with Katie last week about her first day of kindergarten and she couldn’t contain her joy... it's truly bigger than she is. I could feel exactly what she was putting into words because I remember those feelings so vividly.

She is filled with anticipation, excitement and joy. She is eager to experience the adventures in the coming years.

And each time my tears threaten to fall at the thought of all that is being taken from me, I remember what it felt like to believe that I had all the time in the world.

I remember what it felt like to nearly burst with joy for all that the future held.

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Gratitude through tears

I will cry tomorrow, I know that. But I will strive to hold my tears in until I’ve closed the door to her classroom behind me, because my job is to celebrate with her and be proud of her for spreading her wings, no matter how much I’d give anything for more time.

Through my tears, I will be grateful for the five years during which I’ve had her at home with me because I can’t think of a greater gift.

More on learning to let go

Practicing Gratitude: Facing kindergarten
Monday Mom Challenge: Let go a little. Or a lot.
Real Moms Guide: Kids and independence

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