It was quite the momentous occasion, the day my first daughter started kindergarten. That big yellow bus stopped at the end of our driveway. The door swung open and the bus driver waved. Emily adjusted her new Princess backpack, glanced back at me and climbed up the steps.

As I watched the door shut and the bus pull away, my heart literally ached. I walked into the house and attempted to sort through all the emotions swirling around in my head.

It was a moment of realization, really. My baby was in kindergarten! How could it be? Was she ready for this? Was I?

Deep down I knew it was time. She was eager to learn and grow and make new friends. Like it or not, my girl was ready. I needed to smile, take a deep breath and let her go.

Of course, I couldn’t help but worry. At home (I naively thought) I could shelter her from stuff like head lice and the nasty norovirus. Now I was sending her out into the world and exposing her to all sorts of afflictions.

I hoped she would make lots of new friends. I wanted her to enjoy school, have fun, learn a lot and try her best. Above all else, I was super proud of her.

People warned me that she’d grow up quickly, but nobody said it would feel lightning-fast. I blinked – and here we are in the midst of another milestone: her senior year. Lately I’ve caught myself reflecting back on when she started this journey.

You’ve heard the old saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” This definitely applies to a mother’s heart. No doubt my daughter has changed since kindergarten, but my emotions feel very much the same.

I don’t worry (as much) about head lice, but I am tempted to buy her a case of pepper spray. I hope she and her roommate will get along well and that she’ll makes lots of GOOD friends. I want her to have fun and enjoy her college years. I hope she learns a lot, tries her best and succeeds at her studies. I want her to be happy. I want her to make good choices.

And just like that first morning when she climbed up the steps of that yellow bus, I am super proud of her. I’m excited for her and this new adventure. I’m thankful she has this opportunity.

Truth be told, I’m really in no hurry for the day we drop her off at college. Just the thought of it brings back an old familiar ache. But deep down I know it’s time. She has blossomed into an amazing young woman.

No doubt her first day will trigger many emotions for me. Happiness. Joy. Excitement. Sadness. Nervousness. Anticipation. Gratitude. Pride. Love.

None of these emotions are new to me. I’ve been there before. So I’ll just smile, take a deep breath, and let my girl go.

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Sheri has been married to Curt for 20 years. They have three daughters: Emily (16), Taylor (14) and Madison (11). After ten years of full-time motherhood, Sheri took a giant leap out of her comfort zone to pursue her dream of becoming a published writer. Today her freelance works include stories for Guideposts, Angels on Earth, Farm and Ranch Living, and numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She loves to write about her faith, family and adventures of raising three girls at her personal blog.


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