On November 24, 2014, at 6:54 am I became a mom for the first time. My daughter came into the world screaming with eyes so dark they were black and just a little bit of hair that would turn into the perfect ringlet curls.

A fierce little girl who knows what she wants and will take nothing less.

A little girl I saw in my dreams while she was still in my belly and I didn’t even know she would be a girl.

Tomorrow she turns 5, and I don’t think I can handle it. My mom heart is swelling with pride while breaking because my little girl is growing up.

Before the movie even started I could tell I was going to be a mess.

Like many parents on the weekend of November 22, 2019, I made the pilgrimage with my daughter to the movie theater to see Frozen 2.

It was my daughter’s, my firstborn child’s, 5th birthday weekend. So I got us tickets to see Frozen 2 at one of those extra fancy movie theaters where they bring you food right to your reclining lounge chair.

We were so excited we were the first ones there, and after settling into our seats we ordered the most outrageous breakfast. For her, a bowl of ice cream with whipped cream and sprinkles, plus donuts stuffed with Nutella. For me? A breakfast sandwich with a side of chocolate milkshake. Oh, and don’t forget the huge bucket of popcorn and gummy candies.

It was the perfect mom/daughter date.

There are these moments in time when everything comes into hyperfocus. As a mom, you can get so caught up in the routines of diapers, snacks, activities, bedtimes, and seeking a few minutes to yourself that you lose sight of the big picture.

It’s easy to feel like things will never change. That your little ones will always be little. That you’ll have babies that depend on you for everything forever.

But just like the older moms and grandmothers remind you, it goes by so quickly.

The idea that goes by so quickly is enticing sometimes when you haven’t slept in months and the whole family is in the throes of a stomach bug.

Then there are those moments. When the passage of time hits you like a ton of bricks.

One of the first songs of Frozen 2 is all about change. You can see one of the themes of the movie is going to be trying to hold onto the life you have when a new life is calling you. Whether you want it or not, transformation is happening.

Without any real spoilers, the point of time that Frozen 2 covers is a watershed moment for Anna and Elsa and crew.

The whole gang has been living in a pretty sweet little bubble since we last checked in with them, and now… that’s all about to change.

That’s how it feels sometimes in parenting when you can feel a new phase of life coming on.

As my daughter turns 5, it drives home the fact that she is truly growing up. While she is still very much a little child, her body and form is no longer a toddler’s or even a preschooler’s. She looks like a little girl. Not a toddler, not a baby. She’s a kid.

The thoughts she has are becoming more and more complex, and she is now decoding words and learning to read.

This is simultaneously one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced as a mom. The pride of seeing what your child is becoming is overwhelming.

That pride is also overwhelming at the same instant that pangs of sadness become overwhelming too.

Bittersweet sounds too trite of word to really connote the depths of these feelings, but it’s the closest word I have.

These feelings have been coalescing in me for weeks, maybe months, until finally in the middle of Frozen 2, those emotions I’d been holding back burst out in the form of a lot of tears.

I literally cried almost the entire movie.

I cried because I feel so lucky to be able to take my daughter to see a movie about strong women while eating ice cream for breakfast.

I cried because I knew I’d never get that one special moment back, and I had to savor it as much as I could.

And I cried because as beautiful as life is, it’s not fair.

Our purpose as mothers is to raise our children. The entire point is growth. Change. Transformation. But while that is so rewarding, it is torture. As we watch new versions of children emerge as they grow, we have to say goodbye to the child they once were.

This is the reality of life.

For the next 2 hours and 15 minutes, my daughter is still a 4-year-old. So I’m going to bed, lay next to her and just soak her in. I’ll do my best to emblazon exactly who she is right now on my brain and just be thankful for every moment I get to be her mom.

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