big church

Elia has been asking to come to "big church" with us before heading to nursery on Sunday mornings since the fall. We drop Wells off in nursery and then head to the service together until Elia decides it's no longer interesting and heads towards nursery for the remainder of the service. This morning started off the same but today she stayed long enough to see all of the kids go up to the front of church for the children's message. And she wanted to join. Why not?

With her teddy bear in her arms and pacifier in her mouth, she made her way up to the front. Thankfully, we were sitting much closer to the front of church than we usually do. I followed behind, finding a spot along the side aisle where she could see me and easily come back if she decided the children's message scene wasn't for her.

She got there and didn't quite know what to do. She spent about a minute standing up and staring at the pastor as she spoke but then, she turned around and found herself a seat amongst the bigger kids, all by herself. She sat listening for a few minutes, getting a feel for the landscape. She made eye contact with me and I gave her a big reassuring smile and a thumbs up. You're doing so well!, I thought.

That's when she got up, pulled her pacifier out of her mouth, brought it over to me, and turned back around and went back to sit in her seat.

And with that, I stopped smiling because I felt so much motherly pride and emotion in that moment that my eyes began to well with tears.

Thoughts began to fly through my mind in that moment.

Is this what it feels like on the first day of Kindergarten? High school graduation? She was so able, so confident. Confident enough to give me her pacifier, as if to say: Mom, I don't need this anymore. None of these other kids have pacifiers so I don't need one either.

There are these moments, as a mother, when you see your child grow up in front of you. That mix of pride and emotion as your child competently navigates a new situation is heartening. You have taught her, you have given her the tools to begin to spread her wings. This is good. But along with the good comes a touch of grief because it feels like it was just yesterday when she needed you for everything, for much more than just a touch of reassurance. That is where those tears begin, in knowing your child is growing up, learning some independence, in surrendering some of the control you've had over so much of her life, in knowing that her not needing you is the point of all of this.

This will be the first of many moments like this. In fact, I'm sure it wasn't the first but I know there will be many more - I mean, we haven't even made it to her third birthday yet. How does one get ready to start to let go of your child, in small, even tiny, steps, know that they will accumulate quickly over the years?

Pray for me, friends. Or at least keep an extra tissue in your pocket for me.


  1. Your description is so good that I could see every moment. Except when I teared up.

    1. Thanks, Mom. :)

      I know you can just picture her up there, my confident little lady.

  2. Motherhood is the best and hardest. And I can totally relate. XO

  3. Children are not separated from our sacrament meeting, we all meet together for an hour. Some people are surprised at first, come to find that children can be taught to be reverent and listen. Brings a special spirit to our meeting to have the children there.

    1. That's interesting, do they provide nursery for very young children and babies? I love the idea but would have to see it in action.

  4. As a mother of daughter ages 22 & 24, the hardest time is when they go away to university. The house is so quiet and still. I got through by reminding myself that they were having an incredible experience and that this special time right now was the grand opportunity waiting for me at the end of the day-to-day parenting rainbow! The girls have both graduated from college, and the oldest purchased a lovely home around the block from us. Just like when the girls were little that same awesome feeling has returned 10-fold: the sun is shining brightly on me, the birds are chirping shared happiness, and the best years of my life are right here, right now, and beyond! Enjoy each and every moment with your little ones. And smile with the knowledge that things will just keep getting better and better. :-)