I see the signs of summer’s end creeping into our daily routine. My daughter’s summer activities have tapered from a flood to a trickle as each one ends. I laugh at myself now, fearing at the beginning of summer that I was over scheduling my five year old; now I’m fretting about how to keep us busy in these last two weeks.

When my summer semester began, my five o’clock drive into clinical was accompanied by a sleepy sun; lately, I’ve been making my way to the hospital in the dark. Fall is coming. It’s right around the corner.

I’m told I’m supposed to be teary about my baby headed off to kindergarten in mere weeks. It does feel significant; it feels like the true beginning of her life as a kid, one where mom isn’t around all the time. Where I won’t be the one primarily influencing what she’s exposed to. Where she’ll be trusted to make her own choices.

Wait – I won’t be around all the time? I can’t control everything she’s exposed to? I have to trust in her choices?? Forget the tears and pass me a paper bag.

Truly, though, we’re both more excited than apprehensive about the upcoming school year. I think on some level she and I both are ready for a little more time apart from each other. I think it’ll make those times we are together again, catching up after school, that much sweeter.

My daughter may not be a baby anymore, but my career is once again in its infancy. I’m ready to focus on those other parts that make me, me, again. We both have growing to do. And now, the time to do it.

I may be the mother, but my daughter has taught me so much about myself in her five years. I’ve been challenged in ways I could never have dreamed and showed strength I didn’t know I was capable of. I’m continually awed by how motherhood can change you.

As I prepare to put her on the bus on the way to kindergarten, I feel less weepy and more excited for what’s ahead for my daughter. I hope I’ve been able to teach her as much as she’s taught me, and that she’ll take that, along with my love, with her on her newest adventure.

Change is coming with the new season, but we’re eager and ready.