I wrote this a couple years ago on the last day of preschool, but the sentiments apply on the first day of school as well. I just dropped off a kindergartener and a first grader at a new school today. Hugs to all the mamas crying at drop-off this week!

I never understood why moms got sad at the end of preschool.

But now I do.

Yesterday, he asked me to wear his favorite dress for a Mother’s Day tea.

It’s uncomfortable and doesn’t really fit me well, but I put it on.

I sat in his chair in his classroom, and he served me tea sandwiches, a homemade bracelet and a handwritten card. His eyes jumped with delight as he handed me each item. His proud smile couldn’t be contained.

Over and over, he pulled my face close and said “I love you, Mom.” He must’ve said it 15 times.

And all of a sudden, I felt a lump in my throat as I realized these years of innocence are almost over.

Next year, he’ll be in kindergarten.

He’ll be with big kids and naughty words.

He’ll be more responsible and more self-aware.

All of those things are wonderful, and part of growing up. But, I know the days of “I love you, Mom” in front of his classmates are nearly gone.

As his teacher showed a video of the school year, I felt like I was seeing everything I’d missed, as I’d been busy with his brothers and all of the other things that life required.

I wished I could go back and capture those moments, but I can’t.

And so, my firstborn son, today, I will wear your favorite dress and try my best to be your hero.

For as long as you’ll believe it, it will be.

How did the first day of school go? Share it with us, and upload your kids’ back-to-school photos on the Facebook page!