A new road.

Oh, today was a big day for the cubby, and it happened all at once…she just became big. As if we’ve been traveling down the same road from the day her slippery six-pound body was placed in my arms, and today that road abruptly ended and a new one began. It’s a different road. She’s a girl. Not a baby. Not a toddler. And while diaper changes and midnight feedings, two-year-old tantrums and searching for the magic eraser to wipe off the crayon-drawn smiley faces on the wall can hardly be described as easy, it’s at least less complicated than bigger girl challenges.

I didn’t have to stew so much on decisions regarding how to take care of this:


You feed. You change. You snuggle. You pour your soul into them, hoping every internal thought and feeling of goodness and love seeps into every bone in their body, every cell in their frame so that they feel it…so that they know it…so that someday, when they are three and they are big and they are beginning the journey down the new road, they will be equipped with everything they could possibly need to thrive.

I knew it was coming. I could feel it these last weeks…the way her vocabulary is multiplying and her new found understanding of higher-level concepts is manifesting itself in new challenges.

She locks the door on us to keep us out of her bedroom. She says really, really, really when she wants to maximize her point. Like “I really, really, really want my goo-goo back.” She asks questions we’re not so sure how to answer. She gets embarrassed and her cheeks flush. She’s not so sure having a puppy blanket is cool anymore. And the other day, she and Baylee had their first official fight. And by fight, I mean there were tears. And running. And I’m pretty sure I heard a couple You’re-not-my-best-friend-anymore’s.

And I find myself thinking deeply more. It’s not just diaper changes and time-outs now. It’s wanting to explain the world to her. To teach her kindness. To tell her why things happen in a way that makes her want to be good and loving. To show her by example that confidence is power…that the world is her oyster and she is its pearl. I don’t always know how to do this which leads to late-night discussions with Brett where we review our day’s parenting like a judge’s panel. Probably shouldn’t have given that to her. Maybe we should have let her have it. Did you see how sad she was? Did you hear what she said? Maybe I should have been harder on her. Maybe I was too hard.

And you just have to trust that you are doing your best and that for every mistake you make, there are a thousand more victories. And you grow in the fact that, in setting an example, in laying the foundation for your littles, you become better. You have to live what you want to teach them because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and I want my apples to be good and kind, giving and understanding. I want my apples to be strong and independent and yet sensitive and tender-hearted. Yes, I will be a strong tree–so strong indeed that my apples can roll further and further away from me, exploring their world, and they will know my presence, quietly and assuredly.

I say this all like I know what I’m talking about…like I have it figured out and it comes easy for me.

But then there was today.

Today, she tried her first ballet class. She practiced for it two years ago when she was *this* big.


But now she’s *this* big.


And while I used to laugh at moms who made insanely big deals out of the first ballet class, I made an insanely big deal out of the first ballet class. She needs this class. My little mama-loving, cupcake-baking, art-creating, memory-making homebody needs something just for her. To build her confidence, to express herself, to move, to laugh, to meet new friends. She needs this. But it’s new, and she’s never done daycare or preschool or been in many unfamiliar situations.

So, we built it up. She sat on my lap at my desk on many occasions this week where we watched Youtube after Youtube of toddler ballet classes. We read books. We told her it was going to be great and she’d have so much fun and that Oh my Gosh, Lainey, you’re gonna be a ballerina!

And then we showed up early to the ballet studio this morning before they even unlocked the door, all eager-beaver with our spankin’ new ballet shoes and our tightly secured bun and our ridiculous mama snappin’ pictures of it all. When the other little girls arrived, I realized my girl was painfully shy. Maybe this wasn’t going to go like I thought. Lainey was nervous. She held my hand tightly and shrunk into my leg. “Mama, stay with me,” she said. And I did.

Oh wait, it gets worse. All those years of teaching and hoping those helicopter parents–the ones who hover–would let go and let their kids soar on their own…that was me today. I’m actually embarrassed now that I look back. All the other parents? They sat in chairs outside the room like they were supposed to. They gently pushed but watched from afar. Me? I went in the room. I stayed with my girl. I held her hand and whispered in her ear. And when all the leotard-wearing littles were prancing and twirling and tip-toeing and my girl said “Mama, do it with me,” I did. I pranced and twirled and tip-toed with those little girls while all the parents watched, and I can only imagine all the eye rollings and “Oh, Gawd, getta load of that mom”s my tightly-glued presence must have garnered.




Letting go is hard.




…but I’m learning.

And the best part? After the class, the sweet teacher (who was amazing with these three-year-olds, by the way, and who thankfully didn’t make me feel like the ass I was by kicking me out in front of everyone) came over to me smiling and said, “She did great! Maybe next class you can sit out even if she cries” which I’m pretty sure is code for “Dude, you broke every rule in this place and set a really bad example for everyone. Cut the cord, bitch. Cut the cord.”

Oh, loving littles and raising them to be beautiful, confident souls and letting go to watch them do it can be so complicated sometimes. And, after dishing my feelings on it today to my friend Nici, she e-mailed back the most poignant response:

“You know, she’ll thrive on her own. If not there, somewhere. But, I have a feeling once you aren’t in sight, she’ll pull from that big stash of love and confidence that’s been shelved for this very reason. She hasn’t really needed to open a jar yet…it’s like peach butter. Once the growing season is over, once the fruit has gone to seed and left until next season, THAT’S when I need peach butter.”

True ‘dat.



We return next week when this mama will follow the rules and sit with the other parents who I’m sure had to let go at one point too. I will watch my girl do it on her own. I will take off the training wheels, steadily hold the back of the bike, run along beside her for just a moment and then I will let go. I will stand back and watch her pedal on her own. She may fall, yes. But she will look back and see that I was there all along. I will always be there. But sometimes, we have to let them be big.

This is so good for her.

This is so good for me.


Lainey, I love you. I am so proud of the girl you are becoming. You are a beautiful dancer and I can’t wait to see your wings stretch and soar. You will fly, Baby. You will fly high.


Leave a Comment
  1. I love her baby teeth! Cheers to the start of a new road! Thank you letting us travel with you!

  2. So beautiful!!! Love the beautiful pics of the oh-so-sweet little ballerinas. Precious beyond words….

  3. Oh my!!! She is so beautiful, such a pretty ballerina! Love the pics!

  4. Absolutely adorable! I took ballet for many, many years and wish I could remember my first class! She’s such a sweetheart and you’re such a good mama!

  5. I am a new mom to a 8 week old girl. Your beautiful writing and photos inspire me. No one could have prepared me for motherhood…it’s harder than I thought! ;)Thank you so much for being honest and truthful in raising kids.

  6. So cute! And yeah… my Mum came with me to my first ballet class and I made her join in.
    And I’m still cool!

  7. so exciting! I don’t want the day to come when I have to let my little girl be a big girl…Just thinking about it makes me want to cry! thanks for the awesome post today!

  8. I only discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago, & I’ve never commented. I think the numbers of comments & followers overwhelmed me slightly & I felt my comment would be lost & slightly futile in amongst them all.. but this must be a new post because there are barely any comments, so I feel I should leave one :)

    I adore your blog – like, seriously, adore it. It’s just so.. beautiful. In every way.
    Every post brings me to tears in some way or another.
    Your girls are absolutely adorable & I am loving reading about they are growing & learning.

    I think I’m going to have to leave it there, as this is going to turn really gushy & silly, & that’s not what I want. But I want to say thank you. Thank you for sharing your beautiful life with us. I for one am really grateful :)


    PS. A highlight for me, is scanning through your received comments & feeling that burst of joy when I see one from your Father. I actually think I love that man. Just so you know!

  9. This post made me cry. My little is only 6 months, but I am already trying to prepare myself for days like the one you and Lainey had. I want my daughter to be strong and confident. And in order to do that I have to be strong and confident in my parenting, even though I would much prefer to just snuggle her and protect her from the world. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Awww!! Hard times! I remember, my oldest (now 7), cried everytime I left her at Mother’s morning out. Then, she would be ok, but cry again whenever the first Momma showed up for pick-up, At first I tried to be early, the first to pick-up, Then I just pulled her out of the program. I have no regrets, she was only 18 months, but she is now a confidant happy little girl who embraced dance, clogging, preschool at 4, and school. Love ’em up!! Proud of you for dancing, I would of been too nervous to even try. You are a sweet Momma.

  11. What beautiful moments you capture! I absolutely agree with the previous posters comment about Poppa as well!

  12. Just wanted to say that you are an inspiration to me. Your love of life is refreshing and has challenged me to be a better mom and spend more fun time with my kids. They are currently squashing play doh everywhere and I am trying not to sweat it. The wine is helping. Blessings to you & your gorgeous family. I wish you every happiness.

  13. Wonderful post and photos. What a cute littl ballerina Lainey is!

  14. So hard. I hear you….I literally felt like dying those first few days of preschool (in which she was there for 3 hrs). Sadness….and yet joy. And remember to read this post again next Thursday morning before you go to that ballet class. Trust me on that one.

  15. Anonymous says:

    letting go is hard! There is no other way to put it … it stinks! This reminds me of my son’s first day of Pre-t ball. It was very hard but eventually he really did learn to love the game. Every season the first day is still hard for him — and he is now 9, he is also very shy!

  16. totally bawling here. this was beautiful. :)

  17. This one had me crying my eyes out and laughing at the same time! My favorite part: “Dude, you broke every rule in this place and set a really bad example for everyone. Cut the cord, bitch. Cut the cord.” Haha.

    It’s hard to let go, I don’t think I EVER will. What’s that saying….“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Elizabeth Stone

    Good luck at the next class meeting. 😉

  18. My Jack turns 3 in November, but already I’m noticing what a big boy he is. His sentences are getting more complex all the time, he actually showed my husband how to use the oven the other day, and he now can sing on pitch. :-) When did all this happen??? Probably around the same time Lainey left her baby-ness, too…

  19. Holy Kelle, you had me laughing out loud!! I have never met you but somehow I can totally picture you doing all the dance moves with sweet little Lainey and all the other little 3 year olds. A mama has to do what a mama has to do!! She will do great on her own!! Once again, a very inspiring uplifting entry! thanks for sharing!

  20. the tears are pouring. maybe because it was a hard day for me. for us. but also because i know.
    it’s rough and hard. and then absolutely beautiful. and then hard again watching them take off without even acknowledging you.

    thankfully it’s only a ballet class, can you imagine being a mama bird?? shoving your little out. of. a. nest.?? gah.

    by the way … did you get my email response?? i know we’ve had trouble communicating through that email address before – with my replies getting sent to your trash bin … just thought i’d mention that a response was sent. xoxo.

  21. I have a shy little boy that clings to my legs like Saran wrap. I know that one day, he’s going to bolt off on me, and when other parent’s go “Dude! Your kid is running away!” I’m going to say, “I know! Isn’t it AWESOME!” Because there is something extra special about these little ones who need us more, and when they finally learn to let go, it’s because we know, and they know, that they are more than capable.

  22. this one tugged at me, I can still remember these time(s) with my kids. It’s hard for them and it’s hard for us and it’s good for them and it’s good for us. But. I gotta tell ya, I’m not so sure sitting out is always a good idea. Next time…maybe. This time, I am certain…beyond a shadow of a doubt….that she needed you there this time. Feeling sure of yourself, comes from experience and those first experiences need to be grounded in the security that you have a safety net of knowing the people who love you will rescue you if what you are trying doesn’t work. She’s a little girl in a big world and eventually she will be confident in it…but right now… she’s only 3.

  23. so cute

  24. Oh, my-you have no idea how much this reminds me of our oldest daughter. She’s a year older than Lainey and slowly but surely that same shyness is fading. I do miss it! But it is good for her and good for you too!!!

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  27. What a gorgeous ballerina! Such a sweet, honest, real post. Only you know what your Lainey needs and today for that first class, she needed *you*. And you were there for her despite how it appeared. to others. *That* is an amazing Mom. I can’t relate as a Mom since I have a boisterous, outgoing daughter, but I can relate as a child. I was just like Lainey & clung to my Mom. May you both grow in confidence on this new road.

  28. She looks adorable as a ballerina! I laughed out loud when you typed what the teacher really meant when she said you could wait outside the class next week. It is hard to let go but oh so amazing to see what they can do when you do.

  29. Yea, this post made my cry. In a good way.

  30. This made me cry.
    Last year when my baby was in fourth grade I just about had a nervous breakdown. I mean, how in the world can you get more grown up than fourth grade?
    It is so hard to let go.
    So, so hard.

  31. I work in the infant room of a daycare where at least once every three months we get new babies. Now most of our new babies are little peanuts that barely have their eyes open for a total of 3 hours a day and they don’t really know the difference from home and daycare – we get the occassional 9 month old that clings to their mama like their life depends on it. They cry and they shake their heads no and I get this awful feeling in my stomach as I take that baby from it’s mama and it’s daddy reassuring the parents while trying to redirect the kid. It’s truly gut wretching. And the babies have tears – the kind of tears they probably didn’t know they could cry. The parents stand at the threshold of the door fighting every urge to run back in, scoop up their babies and run like hell back to their cars consolling their little back to smiles with “I’m so sorry”s.

    But let me tell you – you did no disservice to Lainey today. We all start with babysteps in each new endeavor we embark upon… we have to start somewhere. You brought her. And you know that it can’t always be like today. That right there is a huge step. You are doing what’s right for you and you’re little and never let any one tell you what the right way is for you and your kid.

    I don’t know you and I don’t know Lainey. But baby I know babies – and I know kids. I’m ten years in this field and although there may be a period of adjustment that’s tougher than anything you’ve ever experienced before there is nothing better than going back to daycare (or for you, that class) and realizing “We made it.” Pretty soon Lainey will be asking to go see her friends and her teacher and some day, bittersweet as it will be, she’ll wave good-bye as she laughs with the girls… as she plies and twirls with all the grace and elegance of a three year old ballerina.

    And on that day you’ll smile with tears in your eyes for it will be then you can come to realize that your little girl has a little world of her own. A place that she is comfortable to break out that shy little smile when she gets praised by someone other than Mama and Daddy.

    You did the right thing for you and your little girl — and in the mean time you have some amazing pictures to remember the moment.

    Sure new roads are scary – but new roads quickly become familiar and you’ll be rockin this out too in no time I am sure!

  32. So sweet. So beautiful. SO AWESOME. I’ve danced ballet for almost 6 years now. Love it. Sending you some ballet pics…love you guys. Keep on rocking, Hampton fam! :-)

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  35. Oh, I so know what you are going through. I was the Mom at ECFE who stayed back with my little girl while all the other Mom’s gathered in the “Mom room”. You just have to trust your gut and do what is best for you and Lainey. I have figured out that I do need to let go so she can soar on her own, but I also break the rules here and there because there are times a girl just needs her Mom. You are an amazing Mom! And Lainey looked SO sweet in those pictures.

  36. Kelle, wonderful post. Moved me to tears. My little guy just turned three two weeks ago, and I have to say I am finding him to be more grown up recently. At the playground the other day, I was watching him admist all these ‘big’ kids (y’know, 8 and 9 year olds), and getting all misty and wanting to keep him innocent and cherubic in the sandbox, as opposed to hanging off the monkey bars with the big kids. But I know that day will come. Sniff! Thank you for your insight…and I don’t think what you did was ridiculous (dancing with Lainey, etc)…I would have done the same thing!

  37. I have never commented before, but I wanted to say thank you for writing this post today. :) My baby is starting Kindergarten on the 19th. I sit in her room watching her sleep and cry…you are right – it is hard. So hard.

  38. My Gracie is a year younger than Lainey, but I’m already looking forward to her first ballet class. :) I imagine I will feel the very same way when the time comes…This brought tears to my eyes, because I really don’t know what I’ll do with myself with she doesn’t need me quite as much as she does now…Such a sweet post, as usual.

  39. I’ve been reading your blog for months and months and every post I think of how touching and spot on your writing. But this post? It made me sob. I know I too will soon have to let my little be big, and it’s going to be so hard but so good. Thank you for writing exactly what I needed to hear.

  40. Sent you a message from facebook for the photos. From “Hannah Nicole Martin” and linked to Rachel Martin’s “Spring Recital” photos. Just so you know. And friend-requested you. Hope you say yes, amazing lady.

  41. Oh, stop! You are making me cry. I have a little girl a little behind Laney (she’ll be two next month) and I am completely in the same boat as you….I am a stay at home mom. Emphasis on the “stay”–such a homebody myself. Obviously, no daycare either so we don’t get out a whole bunch. It is hard to them let go. And watching you do it reminds me that that is going to be me in just a short time too. Hang in there, I am sure the other mom’s would understand if they put a little thought into it. And you are right, it is good for you both. :)

  42. Oh lovely post. I have 2 little girls too and like you, my elder is a wee homebody and a shy little poppet. I love her sweet, shy personality and know that in her own time, she will grow her butterfly wings.

  43. FEAS613…thank you! Beautiful words.

  44. Anonymous says:

    My daughter is green with envy at the pictures of Lainey in her ballet shoes! I know when we try our first class she will be the shy one but I may not have the courage to be the dancing mum as you were so brave to be.
    You are right it is so hard to let them grow up.
    I love to read your blog and be inspired to love being a mum and cherishing all these moments that pass too soon.
    Thank you Kelle

  45. So precious… Love it.

  46. Such a pretty ballerina.

    You are a great mommy!! Pure love!

  47. What a beautiful post. I’m not a mother yet, but I felt your emotion through your words. You touched my heart.

    Such a lovely family you have. You are an amazing mother.

  48. Thank you for calling it a puppy blanket… I thought I was the only one on earth who did that. :) My 17 month old has 2 puppy blankets, in case he loses one (or one finds it’s way into the magical washing machine :).

    Life’s a dance… we just learn as we go. You’re doing great.

  49. Quite honestly I bet those eyerolls you were sure you were probably getting were more like understanding *oh look a new mom how cute we have been there and soon she will come sit with us…when she is ready* looks. :) What a cute lil ballerina you have and it is ok to be a helicopter Momma till you feel she is ready. Good job!

  50. she is soooo lucky to have you as her mama. i am glad you stayed and danced with her. (((hugs)))

    kind of funny, but i wrote a post on my blog last night about my daughter’s ballet class- kind of the same thing- only I am having such a hard time letting go. they are only little once, you know?

    here is the post, if you’re interested: http://www.theurthmama.com/2010/08/1448-days.html


  51. Oh Kelle –

    I’m part of the Jen and Jen club. Yes, here’s another Jen bawling her eyes out. Oh, it’s so hard to let go when all you’ve done is been there for Lainey for every given moment. I am an ex-dancer (10 years under my belt with dashed dreams of a professional career), and just reading that Lainey was going to start classes made my heart race. All the expectations wrapped up in one new pair of shoes and new tights and one long-sleeved leotard. And then to open up today to see her in class…yes, waterworks.

    Oh, the expectations and dreams for our little ones. I still have my last pair of shoes stored in the drawer, and I pull them out randomly to remind myself where my passion for life started. As a child. With big dreams. And it will be something – maybe dance – that will light a fire in your daughter and then she will shine like a beacon. Her glow will reflect on your skin like golden 5pm light that you cherish for pictures.

    Lainey is bashful like my dear Alex, which pains me seeing that we are anything BUT shy. You want your children to soar and to reach new heights, but you know that much of that experience will be done with the stores of confidence that you secretly cultivated. Dig, the peach butter is a perfect metaphor. And after being surrounded by dozens of “stage moms”, kudos to you for going in there and twirling with your girl. She will grow. She is growing. Just take a deep breath.

    On a similar note, there are so many times when we have to let go. I was just thinking about packing up or giving away my maternity clothing, knowing that there will be no more “home growns” crafted by me. And it makes me cry and I don’t want to give it up or to give up some of the little clothes that I treasure. I tell myself that I can’t do it, but really I just am being a mule. Hee Haw.

    Gosh motherhood is a deep warm pool that pulls me in and makes me never want to leave. I never imagined it could be this incredible. So thanks for sharing your experiences in motherhood too.


    Jennifer from Annapolis

  52. I open google reader and see that you’ve got a new post. I open your website so I can read it properly, with the music accompaniment. I save it ’till I’ve read all my other blogs, news, Facebook, and Twitter. I make sure to have a box of Kleenex nearby, because I know I’m going to need it. Sometimes I’ll even settle in with a cup of tea. Your posts are a precious and treasured moment of my day.
    My girl is about 6 months younger than Lainey; my boy about 6 months older than Nella. I struggle with shaping them, the delicate balance of independence and holding them tight. I can get caught up with diapers and meal planning and daredevil boys and everyday life and sometimes forget to remember the beauty. But then I read a post, and have a bit of a cry – in the good way – and I kiss my own littles and am so grateful I can be with them as they blossom.
    Your blog has changed my life.

  53. I am sure you hear this all the time. But I love your site. I find myself coming to it every day and seeing if you have posted anything new. Your posts are always so heart felt. Your girls are beautiful. Your pictures are amazing. I strive one day to be as good as a photographer as you, I’m still learning :)

  54. Wow, she looks so so SO beautiful and floaty and fairy-like!

    And the quote from Nici was pure awesomeness.

    One question for you tho; did you wear the pointe shoes…or your rockin’ red boots?!!

  55. I am reading your post today during day 2 of a 7 day separation from my daughter. She is on a “Great Adventure” with her daddy to Montana to visit friends and relatives. I am in my last month of pregnancy and am not playing well with travel. This will be the longest that I have been away from her. Missing her and missing her. She talked to me for a bit on the phone today and then said, “I wanna go play” and was gone. Boy they grow up fast…

  56. I think perhaps because you share so freely and so openly and so beautifully we as your readers feel that we *know* your girls, just a little.
    I tear up, because this is so bittersweet. Your little love is becoming a little bigger. She is a beautiful dancer!! Love the little girls in tu-tu’s! So sweet. Next week you will be able to watch :)

  57. This is just the sweetest. You both can do it!! And I can’t wait for the day when my little one puts her first pair of ballet shoes on and prances off to her first class. I can only imagine what I’ll be like on that day.

  58. such beautiful pictures! i can see myself being that mom too… only i don’t have a little girl, so maybe it’ll be soccer practice or something. it’s ok to be that mom… just as long as you can let go eventually! :) she can do it…you’ve raised her so well!

  59. Ack! Just when I thought I was through crying over blog posts… you got me. I loved this post! My 3 year old just turned 4 and 3 feels like it went by WAY too fast.
    I loved these pictures. Ballet IS something that makes them suddenly seem bigger. In fact, just taking classes, all by themselves, makes them seem bigger to me.

    So cute! What a joy that we get to stay home and soak up these years with our babes.

  60. Love the beautiful pics of your tiny dancer! :)

  61. Anonymous says:

    Wow, you are one wonderful mother!
    You made me laugh and cry. Lainey will be just fine.

  62. Kelle, good for you, sweet Mama, for listening to your heart and breaking the rules. I have a feeling you will do that alot as you raise your girls and its a GOOD thing! My first was alot like Lainey and even though I spent the first 6 weeks in the room with her at preschool (yep, I broke those rules, too) she is now a married ::gasp:: college graduate and I have absolutely NO regrets for following her lead. And she knows I’d do the same thing for her today – if she needed me to.

    If you find that Lainey isn’t ready for mom to leave just yet, you may find another dance class that will accommodate mommas who need to dance with their babies just a little longer before letting go. :-)

    Keep that cord. Tie it with ribbons and draw smiley faces on it. The day it is cut will always be a day too soon.

    Hugs to you on this very special day! And Lainey, you are a doll!

  63. I had to chuckle a little as I read that, because we had the same experience last year with my daughter. Except it was a sports class instead of ballet. I was the fool out on the field, running with the ball, and trying to get Madison to do everything. The coach said the same thing to me about just leaving her. She even told me to go around the corner where she couldn’t see me. She never did really take to that. But she went to preschool this past year, and she LOVED it. There were tears at first, but as time went on, she ran in the room and didn’t even look back. That was almost harder, because then I realized that she really was big and she could do it without me. Theres nothing wrong with holding on as long as you can. One day, they really won’t need us. Why not soak it all up now while we can.

  64. I haven’t cried reading any of your posts yet, but I cried on this one. I totally get it. My 2 1/2 yr old “baby” had her first ballet lesson this summer, and it was magical. I photographed every moment of it. My heart burst with excitement and pride watching her. Wonderful post. Thank you.

  65. I’ve been reading for awhile now, I’m inspired and challenged by your outlook on life. Even though I don’t have children of my own I teach a special needs preschool classroom, so I can relate to what you were feeling today. I always say it’s a no win situation for parents the first day of class. If the child comes in and lets go easily it breaks the parents hearts, their baby is becoming indepdendent, by the same token if they are clingy and don’t want them to leave it’s just as hard. :-) I’m sure Miss Lainey will adapt just fine, it’s easy to see you’ve given your daughter strong roots and strong wings.

  66. Anonymous says:

    Thank You Kelle–for I look forward to reading your posts…it is like unwrapping my favorite piece of chocolate—
    :) JM

  67. I’ve been reading your blog for a while (thanks to Google Reader’s suggestion!!)…probably since I was about 8 months pregnant with my little guy (who’s now 2 months).

    This reminded me of the time I took my oldest (who’s now 10) to the skatepark for the first time, on his birthdsy, with his very own, custom made-for-his-size skateboard. He had the helmet. He had the pads. He had me at his side on my own board, showing him where to put his feet…Then, he saw that other kids were doing it. At first, he was scared. He was shy, and not used to being around other kids. He held tight to my hand, with his board in the other.
    It took about an hour, but he finally let loose and skated away from me…for the first time ever. I bawled like had never done before in my life, and I didn’t care that people were watching. I was SO HAPPY and so heartbroken at the same time. I didn’t even know hearts could do that…the whole two strong emotions at once.
    He skated, and fell, and called for me…and the spell of heartache broke, because he needed me. He got back up again, skated some more, and called out to make sure I was watching him do this Really Cool Thing!!!…oh, was I ever watching. My eyes were like the videocamera I wish I had that day, and I captured every second in my mind the way you did on this blog.

    I love your blog. I hope you never stop writing it.

  68. Oh this totally has me crying! I have a 2 1/2 year old and just reading this makes me feel so much for the girl she is becoming. Loved this post and love Lainey in her adorable ballerina outfit!

  69. I’m a dance teacher and let me just tell ya, you’re not alone! Lainey might have a tough time next week, but that’s okay. She’ll make it. Each week will get easier on her and you, I promise!! :)

  70. Love how you describe yourself – hilarious! Laughing over here! What a big step for you and Lainey – congrats on making it through. I can only imagine it must be terribly difficult – thank you for bracing me for the future … and inspiring me as I dream of being a mommy!!

  71. this made me cry…big old crocodile tears…

  72. Anonymous says:

    Bless you for always making me feel that my imperfections are ok. For acknowledging, a LOT, that yes all moms screw up. Don’t keep a perfect house. Second, third, fourth, and fifth guess each decision they make.

    My twin girls are starting daycare in less than 2 weeks as I return to work. They are 9 and a half months old and I’ve been home with them since they were born. These past few weeks as we get closer I have second guessed so many things- from “are they still too little to be away from me” to “did I hold them enough when they were little babies?” And when I think of them waking from their naps to find that Mommy isn’t there to scoop them up I cry every time. The same way I cry every time I think about my father giving me away at the altar. But I just think of how excited they will be to see me when I come to pick them up.

    I feel for you and the thought of leaving her in that room alone. And good for you for being brave enough and strong enough to dance and twirl with her despite what other parents or the teacher might have thought. I bet she’ll be so ready next time because you made her so comfortable today. And she will be so excited to show you what she did in class that day and she can teach it to you! Brava, mama!

  73. Kaitlin Cole says:

    Kelle I love every word of this. I Find myself (often) thinking about Tennyson growing up and I used to cry to my husband about it (before Tennyson was born) and my sweet husband calmly would tell me “You know you raise a child right when they grow and leave you” and even though I still know I will be the mom that hugs and kisses my boy until the day I am physically unable I love reading this and knowing “we mamas will get through this too…together”. Thank you for being such a wonderful mama to your sweet girls. We LOVE Lainey Love and Nella Cordilla here at the Coles house in Seattle!!

  74. The look on her face in that first picture made my lip quiver.
    Magic moments.
    Your words are going to be priceless works of art to your girls when they are grown.
    Good for you. Good for them.

  75. I bet none of those ‘other moms’ who obeyed the rules got any of the cute pictures that you did. Your little girl will have memories that will last her a lifetime with all of your beautiful pictures!

  76. I am proud of you for staying! My mother was no helicopter mom by any means. But she was there when I needed her, in situations like that. Because of her support I was able to let her know when I was ready to do it on my own. It actually made me more secure in my self and independent. It is good for children to make these decisions on their own. I don’t care what the teacher says (I say this as an educator myself).

  77. Oh, I love this post.

    I have no little ones of my very own, so I’m not remembering their first times. This post made me remember when my mom and dad dropped me off at the all night graduation party and my dad said to me, “Fly Christine. Spread your wings and fly. You can do it.” And I did, and I am.

    I’m going through my first day at ballet class season right now. Remembering how my parents taught me to love myself and others, be strong, show kindness and stand up for right and truth, is what is helping me through this time.

    Your little Lainey will be able to do it on her own, because she knows you’re in her corner and that she’ll never truly be alone. Thanks for the reminder of that today, because I really needed it.


  78. Lexie Hickey says:

    Wow, it is a tiny, tiny world. My sister-in-law is friends with your friend Nici, and I’ve been reading and loving both of your blogs daily for several months now.

    And Lainey is such a beautiful little ballerina. I’m expecting my first baby, a girl, in December, and you constantly inspire me to be a thoughtful, nurturing, and creative mother.

  79. The first ballet picture made me choke up…… to clarify my post above^^.

  80. You are so funny! You make me laugh and inspire me daily.

  81. I was just on the phone tonight with my aunt and talking about how I feel like I am flying by the seat of my pants with my 5-year-old. Like I don’t know what to do, if I am doing the right thing, am I too hard, not hard enough… yada yada. I want to raise this sweet soul to continue to be good and decent and loving and full of life. It all seemed so easy when he was little and as he gets older, it gets so complicated. And then, at the end of this month, I have to let him go to full day Kindergarten. And I can’t even stand the thought… After 5 years of being home, of days filled with playdates, pjs, bikes, the zoo, eating ice cream, playgrounds… it is all over. Just like that. My husband reminds me we will have afternoons and weekends and breaks and summers… and I know that. It is just that that whole phase of my life is over. And it hurts. I mean, I am so proud of the little boy he is but I long for the simple days of him just being little. And I know that I will now have all day with my sweet Ian and that will be SO much fun. It is just that I want BOTH of them. I guess, though, this is the part of parenting where we let them go and know that they will return to the warmth of our home, of our arms. In the meantime, I am savoring this last month. So, I feel you! And everyone tells me that as hard as it is, I will love seeing who he becomes. I just wish I could slow it all down…

  82. OMG!!! Favorite post, favorite post of ALL time!! I laughed, I cried, and I felt that gut-wrenching Mama feeling even though I am not yet a MaMa. You were so right to stay with your girl.

    I think of it like this. When you have a newborn you run to them every time they so much as squeak. You do this to teach them that you will always be there when they really need you. You slowly stop coming so quickly when they whimper. Then as they grow older you sometimes let them cry it out when they throw that tantrum. This is exactly the same thing.

    Lainey needed you today because she was shy and scared. By being that crazy, photo snapping MaMa you showed Lainey that it is okay to fly on her own, that it is okay to soar; Mama will always be right there if she really needs you. Next time you can sit with the other MaMa’s and she will know you are right outside, there to catch her if she falls. Before you know it she will be telling you MaMa, you can come pick me up at the end of class.

    Did I mention that I LOVED this posts!! It could be in part because my little nice, CoCo is about to start gymnastics for Tots and I am so super excited for her. She is going to be so adorable. You think you feel like an ass now… Just imagine if you were not the crazy, photo snapping MaMa but the crazy, photo snapping, Aunt Loei (CoCo can’t say R’s so that is how she says Aunt Lori.)

    Dude, I really LOVED this post!!

  83. I read this post, and didn’t even realise I was crying until I saw big tears plop onto the keyboard. This was me and my baby last year. I was that Mom who didn’t leave. I felt all the emotions that you so eloquently wrote about and you brought me right back to that bitter sweet moment. Allowing her to fly but keeping her heart safe all at the same time.

  84. Yay for Lainey’s first ballet class! She looks adorable! I’m sure you’re not the first nor last to join in on the first day! My husband and I had to look a wreck at Taylor’s first day of gymnastics, we were tearing up, jumping up and down waving, heck we practically had our faces glued to the big pane of glass (they actually have a glass wall to keep us out!) You both did great! I look forward to more pictures of ballerina Lainey!

  85. Beautiful. I am having similar thoughts as we send our first one off to college–this really doesn’t get easier, I’m sorry to tell you.

  86. Kelle,

    Do you have to check with parents before you post pictures of their children on the blog? I am thinking of starting my own blog and always wonder about that.

  87. Oh this post speaks so deeply to me at this time in my life when I am also learning to loosen my hold on my biggest little (she’s two). Love, love, love. Thank you for the inspiration and making me feel less alone.

  88. Melissa S says:

    Wow. You said it. Letting go is SO HARD. My oldest daughter will be 3 in October. Yesterday for the first time, she sat in her own chair at the hair cutting place and didn’t need to sit on mama’s lap to get her haircut. This is big in our world let me tell you. And I saw her from across the room and I was like…..oh my gosh, she’s a big girl now. It made me so happy and so sad all wrapped into one. And it’s only just beginning… Seems like at this almost-three-year’s-old age there are so many of these moments of her becoming a big girl…big girl bed, potty training, saying more words. It’s incredible and bittersweet :)

  89. This was such a great post. It would have been just a little better if you could have convinced that dance teacher to get a few pics of you dancing along with Lainey. Haha. And I bet those other Moms were actually thinking, “Now that is great Mom. She must really love her little girl.” I’m sure of it. Cause you are. And we know you do:-)

  90. So adorable! It’s so hard to let go. I remember thinking every year, “oh, he/she is not a baby anymore” and then changing my mind. Tell her that it’s cool to sleep with puppy blanket. My 20 year old daughter had Puffalumps when she was little and always had to have one with her. Eventually, all that was left of her favorite one was a paw. She STILL sleeps with Puffy and even took him to Germany for the summer. I slept with my Snoopy until my future husband moved in and told me that dog was not going to sleep with us! Your girls will thrive because of all the love and confidence you give them and it’s harder on Mom than the kids!

  91. She is a beauty and you are a wonderful mom. She will be fine. It is sometimes harder for Mom and Dad than for the little ones to let go. My daughters will often take a “water break” during their ballet lessons just to say hi to mom sitting outside!

  92. So beautiful and touching and perfectly in the moment for me. My darling girl really, really wants to take dance lessons (she’s 2.5), and is also so painfully shy that I ache for her in situations like that. I haven’t decided what to do yet, since 3.5 might be a better age for her.

    Sorry for hijacking with my thoughts. I think you are an amazing mom for sticking with her during class. And you will be an amazing mom when you are watching her from the other side of the glass. She has so much love stored up!

  93. Jessica DeLo says:

    I would have been soooo jealous of you that you were in the class and I was on the outside just watching, not experiencing, with my little girl.

    I know all too well that parenting is not all warm fuzzies, but also inclues some cold pricklies. It’s all part of growing both for us as parents and for the littles.

  94. It’s like you were telling my story – my daughter and i went through the exact same thing. Only I didn’t just hold her hand, I DANCED with all the other little girls just so mine would join in. And it wasn’t just the first week – it was for the first three weeks before I could sit out. I went home and cried and cried after the first class after she went to bed, wondering what I’d done wrong. Then I realized, nothing was wrong. It’s just a rite of passage for a little girl who’d never really been away from her mommy (and a mommy who’d not ever been far from her little girl!)

  95. Wonderful mama and the picture of her with her head resting on the beam.. just like she is drinking in everything the teacher is saying.. Its hard to cut those apron strings, mama!

  96. Aww… it’s a sad and wonderful thing when they grow up to be three!

  97. Oh my goodness, girl! I am going to be the SAME EXACT way!

    My little man goes to pre-school in September and I have a minor panic attack every time I even say the words. I’m going to be the mom with the dark glasses on and the mom with the binoculars, not taking my eyes off of him through the window from the car.

    I’ve already warned my husband, it’s going to be ugly! But I know he will be fine…it’s going to be me, as the mom, trying to let go.

    I feel your pain and am right there with you!

    Lainey looks like such a little lady! Good luck and stay strong!

  98. This post is beautiful and so poignant. My first baby starts kindergarten in a couple weeks and I am having these same feelings. I had them on her first ballet class and she has flourished from the little shy girl to my 5 year old who is trying out for the Nutcracker this fall. From my preschooler who I felt like I was abandoning into a child ecstatic bout the first day of kindergarten. I on the other hand am having my mini breakdowns shopping for uniforms. But I smile, and I tell her how awesome it will all be even though inside I cry a little. Peach butter..peach butter! Happy Mothering. It is a pleasure and a blessing to read your posts.

  99. So touching, beautiful pics. Your words are great too! I’m going to go snuggle my little boy now : )

  100. This is just lovely. What a sweet ballerina!

    Go with your gut in these situations. My now eight year-old first born never liked new situations…from birth and is only recently handling them okay. Like you, I’ve been home with my children from the beginning, and I also homeschool mine. We do plenty of social things, but when it involved me leaving him (even if I wasn’t leaving the location), he would flip out (no, seriously, he totally flipped out!)

    I learned very quickly that he was willing and eager to participate in anything if I or my husband was there…soccer (we coached), scouts (den leaders), vacation Bible school (he was in my group). You get the idea. All of a sudden, I have a very secure big boy who is just fine without me being around.

    My point is, go with your gut and with what works for you and Lainey. That’s what matters most…that you’re there in the way she needs. Be that crazy mama who won’t let go! Own it, sister! Lainey will remember that you stayed, not that you got fussed for it.

  101. I totally guffawed…and cried a little. you are so good.

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  103. Oh, Kelle. What a stunning piece you put together! And that brilliant quote! ha. I mean it. You are fabulous. And perfect in the perfectly not so perfect way! It’s so much about learning. But LOVING. That’s the root of that apple tree. You have strong roots.

    Love you and yours.

  104. This made me cry! I don’t think you should have to sit outside. Poor Lainey is 3. Why do the moms have to sit outside when the children are only 3? So unfair! Can you tell that I will have a very hard time letting go of my little ones?
    Lainey is gorgeous and you are such a great mom. What a lucky, lucky little girl.

  105. I have been looking forward to this post since you mentioned that Lainey was taking ballet! thanks for sharing! I can but I can’t wait for my Audrey to take her first class.

  106. Oh my goodness…I am sooo going to be doing this pretty soon too. My daughter is 2 and each time I have to even try to let her do it (whatever “it” is at the moment) on her own, she wants her mama too, and I want to just grab her up and love her more. I know I have to let go more and more too…but damn, it is hard. I love Lainey and her beautiful little ballerina self. She will soar. :)

  107. SO there with you. My Elliott’s first day of preschool I was still in the hospital after having my youngest. I was teary as my husband told me that he screamed and cried and didn’t want to be left – but you know what? HE LOVED IT! It took a couple of times to get over the separation anxiety, but he thrived. And I know Lainey will too! :)

    And I always wonder if I’m being too hard, too soft, too harsh, too lenient. I think it comes with the territory of parenting a toddler! I try my best and try to be a good example for him to follow. I think that’s all that we can do.

    Love the red boots Kelle! Great post – and love the ballerina pics of Miss Lainey! :)

  108. Awww, Lainey is such a sweet little ballerina!

    My baby girl is 12 days old and I already got her a tutu, I am that excited for her to start dancing. And I will be twirling, too, with her on her first day of ballet class if she asks me to! That’s just what Mommies do :)

  109. Beautiful as per usual! Your writing and pictures are beautiful. You are extremely talented and I can’t wait for more each week. I can relate as I have 4 and 1 year old girls

  110. Please don’t second guess yourself. You trust your instincts. Your relationship with your littles is far more important than what any other mom or teacher thinks of you.I walked out of preschool and left my daughter there, terrified, bawling, at age 3, and sat outside the door, bawling myself, for a good half an hour before either of us stopped. I regret it to this day, and she still remembers and asks me why. Life is short, childhood is shorter. I would rather not say, “because other people expected me to, and I cared more about their idea of me than about your feelings”. Bah humbug! You go girl, keep being yourself. If you aren’t round enough, you probably don’t want to fit into that hole anyway.

  111. She is such a beautiful ballerina!!

  112. 23 years ago I sent my daughter (born with spina bifida) to her first day of preschool at our child development centre and I spent the whole 2 hours leaning against the two way glass and cried. After a few times I was actually able to leave the building.

    I love, just love your blog and your beautiful little girls.

  113. There is too much judgement in the world, especially among parents. Many of my parental mistakes are because I act in reaction to what others might be thinking instead of what my gut tells me the right call is for my child. I’m getting better about that. No one knows my kids better than me, and no one could love them better. I will do what I feel serves my child best, even when it’s hard.
    Letting go is one of the hardest and yet most beautiful parts of parenting. Your belly aches as you read their every expression for intimidation, fear, and uncertainty…and your heart soars to see every smile, laugh, and pride spread across their faces. The truly amazing thing is that you can swing from one end of the spectrum to the other in a matter of moments.
    My oldest will be twelve next month. She’s going away, over an hour away, for the weekend to her best friend’s summer trailer to camp and swim. Without me. For two nights. Ugh!
    Yet the pride she will feel to be big and responsible enough to be trusted to embark on yet another ‘first’ will build another piece of her self-confidence. And I want those pieces, the ones that come from trying new things, mastering new skills, and handling new situations, to form a very strong and stable whole. So I will help her pack her bag, tell her once again that she can always call me if she needs me, and remind her to use her best manners and make safe choices. When the door closes behind her, I’ll breathe deeply and say ‘Please,God’…please keep her safe, let her not be scared, help her choose wisely…please let my decision to let her go be the right one….please…and thank You for giving me someone so beautiful and precious to worry about.

  114. I think it’s precious you twirled and spun right around with her. You are her momma and helicopter or not…you know when she needs you.

    I remember those days like they were yesterday. Now my little ballerina is 10 and is getting boobies. How does that happen? Where is the manual that tells me what to say and how to behave now?? It’s a constant kaleidescope of change. Once you think you have it figured out it becomes blurry all over again.

  115. Oh Mamma, don’t feel bad. My little was just like yours, with a gap in her teeth and shyness in her soul, (she used to say she was shiny:) and I was right beside her in that first ballet class and walked along side of her as she swam in that first swim meet, willing her to finish. Until one day she was the lead in Sleeping Beauty, had a record in the butterfly and now has a sweet little boy of her own. You are doing what’s best for your baby, you know you are, and although she may always be shy, she will be happy!

  116. Trust. Just Trust. Yourself, Lainey, God…Just Trust. You know she will be OK. It is you that won’t be OK as she steps away and becomes just Lainey, not LaineyandMom. Your heart will never be the same. Mine isn’t. It changes everyday. My 17 year old just sat next to me and announced that she misses college (she just took 2 college courses this summer) and how it going to be different being just a high school student again when school starts. I flashed back to her 3 year old dance class and how I was the one who cried. Just like I am now…

  117. Oh, Kelle, you’ve done it again. You’ve written another blog that just resonates with every part of my being. My little is going to be 2 in a couple of weeks, and I can’t believe how that can possibly be. She’s talking up a storm, asserting herself, and she makes me every day SO incredibly glad that I get to be her mama. But I worry too about her getting too big. Can’t I just bottle up these days and hang onto them forever?

    This is the statement I’m taking from your post today: “And you just have to trust that you are doing your best and that for every mistake you make, there are a thousand more victories. And you grow in the fact that, in setting an example, in laying the foundation for your littles, you become better. You have to live what you want to teach them because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and I want my apples to be good and kind, giving and understanding. I want my apples to be strong and independent and yet sensitive and tender-hearted. Yes, I will be a strong tree–so strong indeed that my apples can roll further and further away from me, exploring their world, and they will know my presence, quietly and assuredly.”

    It’s so true and so beautiful and so right!

    And yeah for Lainey going to her first ballet class. She just might be one of the cutest little ballerinas ever! I can’t wait to hear stories of how she is spreading her wings once she gets comfortable with her mama sitting “where she’s s’ppossed to!”

  118. Kelle mama, with all the love you’ve given her and wonderful things you’ve done for and with Lainey…

    she’s not just going to fly…

    she’s going to soar!


  119. I have been following your blog for several months now and look forward to reading a new post! This is the first time I have commented, I have just kind of been lurking. But I have to say, this is something I needed to hear today! I am preparing to send my oldest (and only girl) to kindergarten in just a few weeks and I am having a hard time letting go. She is growing up so fast and I want to hold on to her & not let go! Thanks for your right-on-point words & for sharing your littles & part of life with your readers!

  120. That was me a year ago..I had to let my little girl fly..it was at dance class as well! She cried for a few classes when I left her. However, she grew so much! I can’t believe what she did in May. On a BIG stage at the recital. It was AMAZING! Chin Up Mama..you just LOVE her!

  121. Anonymous says:

    just so you know that i WOULD HAVE NEVER LEFT that room either!!!in fact, with my own daughter, I never did!!she had this little way of nodding to me when she was ready for me to go, and until I saw that little face turn to me and let me know that she was comfortable you couldn’t move me with a bulldozer..don’t let anyone intimidate you into leaving your child when she is uncomfortable…she will adjust just fine and a little help along the way from mom never hurt anyone!!today she is a grown woman who has so much confidence in herself she has succeeded in reaching all her dreams and to think she had a “crazy mama” when she was a little girl…who care what other parents think..do what you think she needs…it it so important for her to know that her mom stands behind her!!

  122. Anonymous says:

    Oh, you made me cry.
    My daughter will start pre school this fall and I am nervous and excited at the same time! I totally hear you. It IS hard to let go. But we must, and I tell myself over and over again, yes it is good for them and for us. How else will they soar? :)
    Lainey is sooo beautiful!

  123. i love it! Cut the cord! hahahahah I totally understand. Our teacher shuts the door and I lay down and look under the crack!

  124. I just recently found your blog. I’m a new mom to a 2 month old baby girl. I always get SO excited when you have a new post. There is something about your pictures and the way that you write that makes me love being a mommy even more. It makes me want to go wake my sweet girl so I can snuggle with her and kiss her sweet cheeks. I love how obvious it is that you love being a mom so much. Thanks for sharing with us all. :)

  125. Just beautiful! This made me tear up.

  126. Usually my comments wax and ramble, but today I’ll keep it short and sweet. Beautiful post from a beautifully devoted mama. She’s one lucky girl.

  127. I friend once shared some sage advice from his mother which was, “you can’t hang on and let go at the same time”. I think of that phrase a lot as my son grows up.

    You will find your way with it.

  128. Oh, I feel your pain girl! I have two little girls (6 and 4) that I am learing to let go of. They are only out of my site when they go to Sunday school or their dad watches them. I homeschool and spend literally every waking moment with them. I want them to spread their wings but then I have to let go and oh how painful that is. Thanks for bearing it all and being honest. Thanks for the vote of confidence, best of luck next week!

  129. I haven’t cried because of one of your posts since the birth story but this one brought tears to my eyes because I have a girl who just turned 3 and I’m feeling the same way and know just how you feel. It’s just so hard to let go, and the letting go I have to do now is so small compared to all the letting go that is to come. …I would have done the same as you did and danced with her. …doesn’t it make your heart swell yet simultaneously hurt to see them being big? ooooohhhhhh I’m just such a sentimental mama I can hardly stand it. And my baby turned 1 today too. I’m going to go cry more now and watch their birth videos.

  130. Kelle, you are so awesome and I am so glad you posted that so I could read it tonight. I NEEDED to read it tonight. You made me cry and laugh, all in the same post and it’s exactly what I needed right now. Thank you so much!
    And the pictures are amazing, as usual! :)

  131. I hope when you pranced and twirled and tiptoed with Lainey you were wearing your red boots!

  132. Anonymous says:

    ahhhh, this post makes me cry so hard … in a good way, but I’m still crying. It’s just so hard to let go, isn’t it? Give yourself a big hug mama, you did a great job. :)

  133. Lainey looks GORGEOUS! Such a beautiful and emotional post! Love it!

    Everything happens in its own time. Lainey and you are going to be ready whenever you are ready, no sooner, no later, when the time feels just right. If you are ready next week, great. If you need more time that’s great too. C:

    “No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” ~Virginia Woolf

  134. As I told Kelle today, it is not just the fear of being apart from you, it is the fear of stepping out of the world of safety and significance you create for her…she knows how much you mean to her and how very much you will strive to surround her with “happy”–cushioning the world for her…but it is so important for her to know that if you lead her to it, it is good…and you can leave her and she will know you will come right back. Once it was the little on your lap. Then, you look through french doors, and she might not even know you are looking, but you know it. And we are always in their bleachers, cheering them on. I know. I still am. Cheers!

  135. Oh Kelle. You did the right thing. Good for you for having the GUTS to stay and dance with her. I’m pretty sure those other mamas who just watched were jealous of you today, deep down. I know I would’ve been.

    Lainey sure is a beautiful ballerina. I think you’re doing a great job helping her grow up.

  136. Kim from Oz says:

    Oh gee wizz!

    This has to be one of my favorite posts you’ve ever made, beside Nellas birth story. Excuse me for a moment, I’m going to write a mini essay in my comment. :)

    I can remember when my mama took me to my first ballet class, back when I was 4 years old. I made her do exactly the same thing – stay in the room with me, every tiny little step! The other mums dropped their kids and left , or congregated outside to wait – but my mum stayed with me, grinning all the while!

    19 years later….. I am 23, and enjoying a career as a professional dancer. I think if Mum hadn’t stayed in the studio with me the first class, I would have begged her not to have gone back to class – I was a painfully shy kid too. :)

    I’m 100% sure you made one of your best decisions staying in the room with your girl, even if you did look like a goof in front of the other parents.

    I hope Lainey learns to love dance, she certainly has the right support unit to blossom in it! .. and she unbelievably pretty in her ballet outfit!

  137. I don’t know when you have the time to read all 132 comments! But I had to tell you that this brought tears to my eyes! I was that mamma that hovered near by when my little man had his first day of swim lessons, I so understand how hard it is to let go! The pictures are beautiful!

  138. I am not sure how you do it. But 90% of the time when I read your blog I cry.
    When I take my girl to a class I feel so much of what you described.
    Bless that teacher for being gentle with both of you.

  139. Anonymous says:

    Maria Gabriela is an adult women with down syndrome that is married and have a beautiful little daughter. Read about her here http://www.planetaeducacao.com.br/portal/artigo.asp?artigo=1526
    and here http://oglobo.globo.com/sp/mat/2008/06/13/apos_2_meses_bebe_de_mae_com_sindrome_de_down_pai_com_atraso_mental_registrado-546787643.asp

  140. seriously woman!! make me cry at least once a week on this blog. seriously love your writing and your sharing of the pieces of your heart!

  141. I totally agree with your feelings. I am the mother who walked her middle school daughter into the gym and stood with her in line until the bell rang! Heck I wanted to walk her to her first day of high school but, alas, she wouldn’t let me. And now that little girl is going to college in a few short weeks. She now has a job too :) Treasure these moments Kelle they go by REALLY fast. (sniff, sniff) I SO miss having a little. I have one little boy left. And I can feel his little soon to be 8 year old body slip from my arms-wanting to be free!

  142. this post brought me to tears and i ended up sobbing.
    my daughter is 18 months old and i am already having issues with her getting too big too fast.
    our first ballet class, i will be right by her side too, and the next week i will be in my chair, sobbing like a baby.
    you’re an amazing mother!

  143. You sure now how to make a momma’s heart hurt….hurt so good :)

  144. I think that all that Lainey needed was to share that special moment with her mama. Yes, you would have shared it even if you were “following the rules” but it wouldn’t have been as special. She’ll always remember how she did ballet with you during her first class. Maybe she just needed to share that moment to get used to her surroundings.

    And in the end, all that matters is that you and her had a blast! Transitions are hard but you know she’s gonna rock at ballet. :)

    Just keep “breakin’ the rules” and enjoy that time. :)

  145. I just have to say that your baby is so lucky to have a mama who would be willing to dance with her. We should all be so lucky.

  146. Hi Kelle,
    Those ballet photos are just so pretty.
    Lainey looks like she’s a natural at dancing.
    Hope you and your family have a lovely weekend!

  147. Long time reader, 1st comment. I think lots of readers said they cried at this post-and I did have a few “aww” moments, but my biggest show of emotion was complete burst-out-loud-laughing, like the kind where you bust a gut and your husband looks at you from across the room like you just lost your mind. I think you may have momentarily turned into Kathy Griffin for a second with the “cut the cord” bit. She, (and now you) seem to be the only two people who can really take me to those fits of uncontrollable laughter. So, thank you. I needed a good laugh today.

    On a separate note, you might just have the cutest little ballerina I have ever seen. Your photographs are truly inspiring. Kids really are the best subjects, aren’t they? :)

  148. Ballet is one of the best things you can do for a little girl. I swear by it. They are forced to look at themselves in a critical light…but not in the way that critiques what they look like but how they handle what they are given. So cute. I can’t wait!

  149. Anonymous says:

    such a beautiful post. i am new to your blog, and i want to thank you for being here. you’re words and pictures are so inspiring.

  150. Okay well this post just made my eyes well with tears as I embark on our new big boy journey…Kindergarten. He is a shy yet confident wonderful boy, and oh how I worry about kindergarten! I had already thought that I would call the teacher before school starts and maybe he and I could go visit her and the classroom, just one on one the day before school starts and kids are talking, bells are ringing and my little is scared, quiet in a new place with new people. AND oh how I had the thought about how I’ll be starting his school years off known as the mom who couldn’t let go! The one that lingers at the door afraid that he’ll have no one to talk to, no one to sit by…oh the tears and the decisions we make along the way! I can’t even write about my thoughts for the first time he has to get on the bus to go to school..and his little self stepping on that big bus…
    Thanks again.

  151. Greta S. says:

    Wow, she is such a pretty little girl. And Nella, too. I mean, seriously! Gorgeous kids!

    Lainey will do fine. And so will you. You stayed with your girl. Who cares what the instructor says! You’re paying for the class!
    My girl will be 3 on the 21st, and she is very shy herself. I am going to try her in an art class @ Gymboree where the parents can leave for an hour. Lily won’t let me leave, I’m sure. But I will walk out and stay in the lobby instead of driving off like the other moms :)

  152. thank you for putting into words what I am feeling. my oldest child will be attending kindergarten in 2 weeks and I sob every night about it. AM I proud of him, YES. This is the same child that for the first 3 years of his life SHRIEKED if I left him. But we kept taking him places, reassuring him that we would never take him anywhere dangerous or leav him with anyone who we didn’t trust. And now he is so excited for his new school. But I will cry, big crocodile tears, all the way home from his school. And that’s okay too.

  153. oh, girl. i love this post. it’s so true.

    so much harder for us mamas to separate than for them . . . and i am mama to a real mama’s boy, which i love!

    but maybe you should sign yourself up for your own class–or at least take gillie’s class if you go to mt . . .the most fun you’ll ever have in a dance class!!

  154. As a former elementary school teacher, I totally get where you’re coming from about the ‘helicopter parent’ and not expecting (or wanting) yourself to ever become one. On the other hand, I went through the same thing with my daughter when she started playschool last year. And you know what? I don’t regret it a bit. I stuck with her for the first class so she knew I was there if she needed me and so she could put some of her trust out there. And now she’s just fine on her own. You were helping her to build her independence and that’s what great moms do!

  155. Anonymous says:

    oooooohh….been there, sista. Felt every ounce of your day from your post. When my son started preschool he ran to the door screaming – DON’T LEAVE ME MOMMY!!! I cried on the other side of the door while he cried with the teacher. Then other moms saw/heard and came and cried with me while I pressed my face against the one-way window. But you know what? He did stop and he did walk out at the end (only an hour later since it was the 1st day!) proud that he had gotten it together and had fun. Now he is king of that preschool, baby! :)

  156. Gah! Tears! I gasped when I scrolled down and saw the first pic of Lainey in the class. Holy moly does she look older! I feel like I know your family so well through this blog and these photos, and this was an electronic version of seeing a friend’s child grow up and saying “Wow you’ve grown!” Incredible! Lainey will do fabulously!

  157. Anonymous says:

    Maybe parents who have very outgoing kids wouldn’t get it, but I sure do. Shy kids are the most wonderful, pensive, thoughtful, kids out there. They also need a little reassurance. She will do great!

  158. “letting go is hard”…

    that is the understatement of motherhood.

    i believe that good mothering is this huge, long, never-ending stream of this:


    love-them-make-memories-love-them-let-them-go-a little more…

    love-them-make-memories-love-them-let-them-go-a-little more than you ever dreamed you could…

    wash, rinse, repeat. :)

    every round of this is filled with pride, guilt, anxiety, fear, and abundant love, love, LOVE…

    and blind faith that you have filled your babies with enough love, confidence, and security to handle whatever life brings.

    but if they need a refill, Mommy is right there…for a kiss-kiss-hug-hug-I-know-you-can-do-it…then a gentle push back into the world that will love them, value them, and truly needs them in it.

    this formula still works with my Jordan and Katie…so I’m goin’ with it. :)

    The pictures of her at the bar are beyond precious.


  159. oh my!! I am going through the same exact thing with my 3yr+3mo old daughter! oh my! this entry made me cry! i can’t let go! but I need to! theres been no daycare, no preschool no babysitters..and all of a sudden i have to let go..but how..she starts playschool next week,,2 times a week..3hrs a day..that is 6 hrs that she is away from me! *DEEP BREATH*

  160. Oh my golly, I think you did what any good mama would have done the first time their baby steps out into the unknown. And I bet those other mummys were thinking ‘I’ve so been there’.
    I’m tackling a *similar* hurdle soon – the first haircut. His hair sits all wispy over his ears and he has curls (CURLS!) at the nape of his neck. I don’t think I can do it. You and Lainey are so brave, looks like she did fantastic!

  161. Letting go is so hard!! :( I feel the same way!! Lainey is absolutely beautiful and I love her pictures from her first ballet class. Thanks for sharing!

  162. She. Is. Beautiful.

  163. I loved reading that you stayed with her when she asked. I started ballet when I was 3, and I was also painfully shy. I ended up being a ballet school drop-out because my mother leaving the room was far too terrifying for me. Maybe if she just would have stayed for the first few classes, I would have been fine. While it probably isn’t a good thing to make permanent, it is wonderful that you stayed with her. There’s nothing wrong with that at all! :)

  164. This one really got to me. Tears. Your blog is such a bright spot in my day. Thank you. Your love for life, and especially for your girls, is infectious and inspiring.

    Oh, and I died laughing at this: “Dude, you broke every rule in this place and set a really bad example for everyone. Cut the cord, bitch. Cut the cord.” hahahaha! Love it! (And I’m pretty sure that is every mommy at some time or another…) =)

  165. As soon as I finished reading I knew I wanted to look for your sweet Poppa’s comment. It didn’t disappoint. Oh you have such a sweet and lovely family Kelle.

  166. As soon as I finished reading I knew I wanted to look for your sweet Poppa’s comment. It didn’t disappoint. Oh you have such a sweet and lovely family Kelle.

  167. Just so you know…it never ends. This difficulty of letting go. My boys are 25 and 21 and I still smile through tears every time I have to let go. It’a a mamma’s heart.

  168. Just tonight I had dinner with an old friend… a real grown up dinner, just us, no kids & two glasses of wine… and we were talking about this exact thing. About the realization that if we do our “jobs” as mothers right, our littles will leave us & go out into the world to make their own ways. This realization is so scary & exhilarating & overwhelming & beautiful all at the same time.

  169. Kelle,
    How do you write the words so beautifully. The same words I feel deep in my heart but can never express you so magically write. I am sitting in bed crying reading this as my littles are so big as well!!! It is so amazing how time flies. I cried earlier today thinking about my sweet Olivia being in kindergarten all day in just 20 days from now???? why do they even need to go to school?! I think I will always be thankful when I edge closer to the cliff of “over-loving” then the other , even if all the other moms are thinking “cut the cord bitch”!!!!

    You inspire the heck out of me.. and oh how I wish one of the other moms had pictures to share of the crazy mom in the red boots dancing and snapping pictures with a ton of 3 year olds!

    may we all learn the balance of loving and letting go!

  170. Linda MG in Soquel, CA says:

    First, to POPPA – YES YES! As always, you nailed it. To HEARTSHAPEDBRUISE – I’ve been here many months and trust me, lots of us here just love Poppa to pieces, too! And to FEAS613-Thank you! I SO agree with you – Kelle, you did no disservice to Lainey. I mean, she is just barely THREE! There will be a period of adjustment to separating and that is fine and who cares about the other moms or what they think – maybe their kids have been away from them before. I think it is totally fine to help here ease into this. I so remember when my littles first started Pre school and *I* was in tears after I left them; it was SO hard. Your words today made me cry and so touched my mommy heart.

  171. Oh, it is hard. I would’ve done the same thing, though. :)

  172. Ok, this made me laugh out loud and then cry just a little bit at the end. I was totally the only parent who participated in ballet class with my daughter last week and the teacher gave me a little “Cut the cord, bitch” lecture at the end of the class. She is just precious and so are you! Thank you for breaking the rules and dancing with your baby, I mean, that’s what life is all about, right?

  173. Denise Reed says:

    Awe Kelle, Your blog and your photography are among my favoritest things. I am a teacher and so I get to see littles draw on that big reservoir of love, separate, grow big, and dip into that jar of peach butter on a regular basis. You are a good mama! Thank you for making my heart smile.

  174. We’re doing the same thing – except Gabe is a little bit older, and instead of ballet class he’s starting kindergarten. And I want to tear my heart out and leave it with him every day because I just can’t fathom letting go of my little shadow. We have been together nearly every day for 5.5 years, and it seems so wrong to “give” him to someone else for seven hours of the day! But you are right – they have to fly on their own. Their confidence grows when they do. I want to bottle him up and keep him as my baby forever, but I don’t want to withhold from him the confidence and joy that comes from spreading one’s wings and soaring. So I take a lot of deep breaths, cherish this last month of being together with him every day, and pray that our transition will be positive.

    Lainey will love this, I bet. Today ballet class, tomorrow the world! (And as a fellow mother who doesn’t want to let go quite yet, by “tomorrow” I mean some day in the very, very distant future when the days of cuddles and story time and sing-along dvds are tucked away and replaced by older, more grown-up things. Did I mention that won’t be until the very distant future?)

  175. Cut the cord, bitch…LOL… Too. Funny. And those pictures? Sigh…there was a reason you stayed in, just to have those shots, those are just too much.

  176. Anonymous says:

    This was sooo good. I went through this exact same thing last Sunday, but with my son who just turned 3. I was abruptly told he couldn’t go to the church nursery anymore because he had just turned 3, and I wasn’t sure he could handle the 3 year old class. So I was his shadow that day. I did all the singing/clapping and playing and snacking etc right by him, and I got on him when he got out of line. During playtime outside I was spotting him on the play equipment. Now mind you, I had a 21 month old I was juggling too, my other son. I swear I achieved being in two places at once that day. I was carrying the 21 month old with me because I had witnessed a kid getting bit by another kid in the nursery the previous Sunday, and I didn’t want to leave him in the nursery alone.
    Anyway, you are so, so, so right. It is so very hard to let go. I think I will be his shadow for several more weeks. But I will have to leave my younger son in the nursery, I think, and just hope the biter stays home that day.

  177. Kelle,

    I am a devoted mom to a perfect girl named Olivia. She is turning 2 this month and this post drove that point home for me. It is so true that this parenting gig is going to shift before I know it. I am actually going to have to start teaching her more than how to run over the speed bumps in our complex and what it means to be loved. I will have to explain the world to her…in a way that makes sense to her.

    Your daughter is precious, daughters I should say (!). Thank you for this post.

    ~ Heidi from Canada ~

  178. Anonymous says:

    She is only three. She is only three.

  179. Anonymous says:

    We make such HUGE mistakes when we are hard on ourselves about how we parent our children. I think back to when my little boy took swimming lessons. I was the only parent who stayed and watched through every single lesson. Everyone else just dropped ’em off and when about whatever it was that they did during the classes. I may have looked over-protective to everyone else…but I got wonderful pictures and dear memories. And now he’s all grown up and out on his own…and what “they” thought of me sitting there so doesn’t matter. So don’t buy into the “shoulds” and do things the way your heart tells you to do. She is, indeed, only three years old. Someday you will look back and be shocked at just how young three really is.

  180. Your little Lainy Love looks absolutely precious in her pink ballet outfit. Oh my gosh, she’s such a doll. Great photos!

  181. Oooops. Forgive me for spelling Lainey’s name wrong! Forgot the “e”.

    I also wanted to add that who cares what others think. You got some amazing photos because you were there in the room with her on that first day. And you gave her the encouragement and confidence and security by being there with her. That’s a momma’s job, afterall. She’s only three! Cut the cord, indeed. I disagree. Here is a little one who hasn’t been to preschool or any other place where you’ve ever had to drop her off. It’s only normal that she’d grab you a little extra tight on this day. Good for you for doing what your heart told you to do and not being intimidated by the “stares” :)

  182. Anonymous says:

    It’s OK to go out there on the floor with her at first. I did that too with my little boy, first day of gymnastics. Each day I sat a little closer to the parents’ area. He needed that and it’s OK that I gave him that. It’s OK that you did it too.

  183. Anonymous says:

    That was such a sweet heartfelt post. I love reading your updates. My daughter is 3 too. This post made me cry because believe me, I get it.

  184. Sorry if I’m repeating what others have said – regretfully haven’t had time to read all the other comments first!

    Kudos to you for joining in and putting Lainey’s feelings before your own. Don’t be intimidated into pushing her to be independent before she’s ready – she will be soon enough. Follow your heart, Kelle – I know you will, but there are always people who will try to convince you you’re being ridiculous. Only believe them if it feels ridiculous to YOU.

    On a parenting dilemma note, have you read Alfie Kohn’s “Unconditional Parenting”? I LOVE that book and re-read it whenever I feel like I need a shot of patience and inspiration. It should be compulsory reading for the entire human race, parents or not. Really, read it, everyone.

    Soapbox rant over!! Great photos Kelle, you must be so proud of your precious sprite. xxx

  185. Goodness gracious Kelle! Way to make me bawl like a baby. So- sometimes I pretend that you and I are best friends. We are both photographers, we both have two adorable little girls who are pretty close to the same ages (almost 3.5 and 7 months) and while I am totally lacking your sense of style- I totally wish I had it! Ü Anyway- a lot of the time when I read your blog I feel like you are saying just what I am feeling. The past few days I have felt so overwhelmed by how big both of my girls are getting. My baby doesn’t seem like much of a baby anymore now that she has hit 7 months old and my 3 year old is getting ready to go to preschool in a few weeks. She is speaking like an adult, she doesn’t need me anymore and doesn’t want me a lot of the time. She can do it all by herself and it just breaks my heart. I want to let her spread her wings and fly but then I also just want to hold her close a little bit longer.

    Anyway- rambling aside, thanks so much for sharing all your thoughts and feelings. It is nice to know that I am not the only one. And absolutely gorgeous photos from ballet class. Seriously. I want to go sign Cecelia up right now- just so she can wear a pretty pink leotard and ballet slippers just like Lainey!

  186. You sure bring tears to my eyes…
    Lovely! And I love the pictures…

  187. Oh, that makes me want to scoop up my almost two year old daughter and beg her not to grow up. Though I know she is already older than what she was when she woke up.
    It just happens so fast though!

  188. You have me in tears. I am about to send my first born ton Kindgergarten in a few weeks. I feel like there is a Mack truck coming towards me and I can’t stop it. The thought of letting him get on the bus and sending him off to school scares the hell out of me. Thanks for making me realize that I am not the only one dealing with a little who is growing up!

  189. Anonymous says:

    Love this post Kelle! Growing up is HARD – for both Lainey and you! Be grateful she wants you there – believe me there comes a time ….

    I have three grown children – first day of kindergarten is pretty bad – especially for your oldest – but you will be able to walk home from the bus stop to your beautiful Nella.

    Even harder for me was my older two’s first day of college – now that’s hard and emotional ….I have one more to go next year and Im tearing up now just thinking about it.


  190. Anonymous says:

    Everyday that you post………I am a better Mom. Reading your words makes me turn from my computer and run to my 3 little ones. You have made me love them deeper than I ever thought possible. Keep on keeping on girl.

  191. cutting the cord is the hardest of all but in the end it always feels better

    i just put my 6 but almost 7 month old daughters infant swing away – that was hard too but I so look forward to the future even thought the past was oh so delicious

  192. Anonymous says:

    Kelle, this was such a beautiful, honest post. Letting a child go to spread his/her wings is hard. I taught kindergarten for 20 years and certainly witnessed those first day transitions in every shape and form. It is my experience that those children who have an opportunity as a toddler/preschooler to experience new situations removed from their parents are the ones who adjust the easiest when starting school . There is something to be said for time in preschool, even if it is only a few hours a day /a couple of days a week. Children learn a whole set of skills that can’t be learned in any other situation. They learn how to function in a community of peers, how to negotiate, how to speak up, how to stand up for themselves. It makes them strong and resilient.
    Funny, when I read you post a few days back about getting Lainey ready for ballet class, my first thought was…I bet there will be tears. Sometimes you can hype the experience too much…the child imagines something very different than the reality. Just prepare yourself because the next class will be hard, for both of you. My 5 year old godchild went to dance class this year. Both her parents work so she has been in great daycare situation 3/4 days a week since she was 6 months . She has transitioned so many times within that setting that transitions are very easy for her. She had no problem with ballet class but doesn’t want to take it again…she told her mom there just isn’t enough twirling! And kindergarten , well she decided, much to her mother’s dismay, that she wanted to take the bus rather than have her mom drop her off. She and her mom have a very close relationship but Erin is very confident and will to take on new situations readily.
    My best to you. I am sure you will navigate this situation in a way that works best for you and Lainey

  193. I love your blog. Hardly a post goes by that I don’t get teary-eyed from your heartfelt words and pictures.
    Thank you so much for your beautiful take on Motherhood- I’m expecting my first in January and your thoughts make me want to cheer and weep at the same time. Thank you so much. You have truly touched my heart.

  194. All I can do is smile at your story and remember….when my shy little, momma’s girl daughter began her first dance class at the age of 3, others told me she was too young. I wanted it for her for the same purpose of meeting other little girls. The first class Kayla went behind closed doors and emerged happy and telling me of how they danced with ribbons, I was beaming with pride. The next week, the door was left open and my heart sank while I watched my shy little girl just stand in place while the others flitted around the room. Afterwards, I approached the teacher and apparently, this is what she did the week before as well. I was told it was up to me if I wanted to keep bringing her since she was not participating. I chose to keep bringing her, and each week watched while she would just stand, sometimes moving around the room by the student helper picking her up and hopping her around with the others. I knew she wanted to be there, she talked about it and glowed about being a ballerina. They began learning their dance for the end of year recital and though Kayla never participated, I purchased the costume so she could have her picture taken. My daughter prooved to me and others that she will do things on her own time–2 weeks before the recital, she began participating in the class (she had been absorbing it all along) and stood on stage with the other dancers for the recital performance.

  195. Ahhh I love this post! I am soo looking forward to enrolling Michaela in ballet! I am prepping her 2 year old steps already.

    Lainey looked like a pixie. A fairy. A soft, delicate, sweet, pastel little soul. She is beautiful.

    It’s hard to let go. I haven’t even mastered it with my 5 year old. Hi, only parent on the indoor soccer field instead of behind the boards. I think the helicopter mom is a loving mom. A mom who their child trusts more than anyone. And you in that room snapping those pictures…oh, if I were the mom’s on the outside I’d be wishing I were you. You’re an amazing mama. Keep it up girl.


  196. This post really means a lot to me. Today is a hard day for me… it’s the last (work) day I spend with my precious baby before I have to go back to work on Monday. After 9 weeks home with my sweet little girl I have to leave her. I should be used to it. I had to do it with her big sister. But it seems harder this time. Maybe because she was premature and her arrival was scary and I was afraid she wouldn’t be ready for me to leave her when I had to go back to work. But she is. She’s thriving and she’s beautiful and she’s happy. I have to “cut the cord” too and I just don’t want to. Letting them go is hard.

    Thank you for your beautiful words.

  197. Kelle-Thought of your blogpost today when I heard this song on kids sirrus radio:

    You and Me by Frances England

    Thank you for inspiring me to be the best mama I can be for my little girl. DId you know you are doing that to all of us readers? Maria from Michigan

  198. Kelle-Thought of your blogpost today when I heard this song on kids sirrus radio:

    You and Me by Frances England

    Thank you for inspiring me to be the best mama I can be for my little girl. DId you know you are doing that to all of us readers? Maria from Michigan

  199. Anonymous says:

    Kelle-Thought of your blogpost today when I heard this song on kids sirrus radio:

    You and Me by Frances England

    Thank you for inspiring me to be the best mama I can be for my little girl. DId you know you are doing that to all of us readers? Maria from Michigan

  200. Anonymous says:

    Kelle-Thought of your blogpost today when I heard this song on kids sirrus radio:

    You and Me by Frances England

    Thank you for inspiring me to be the best mama I can be for my little girl. DId you know you are doing that to all of us readers? Maria from Michigan

  201. Kelle, ya got me with this one, girl! I’m not a mom, but it just hit me. And the fact that you KNOW that you need to let go makes you the opposite of a helicopter parent, lady…they never know (trust me, I work at a college and parents call all the time about their twenty-somethings). You’re amazing and you’re doing just fine!!

  202. Kelle, ya got me with this one, girl! I’m not a mom, but it just hit me. And the fact that you KNOW that you need to let go makes you the opposite of a helicopter parent, lady…they never know (trust me, I work at a college and parents call all the time about their twenty-somethings). You’re amazing and you’re doing just fine!!

  203. Kelle, ya got me with this one, girl! I’m not a mom, but it just hit me. And the fact that you KNOW that you need to let go makes you the opposite of a helicopter parent, lady…they never know (trust me, I work at a college and parents call all the time about their twenty-somethings). You’re amazing and you’re doing just fine!!

  204. Kelle, we’ve all been THAT mom at one or more times. I was THAT mom more times than I can count, but I’m getting better and braver with every little snip at that cord that so beautifully connects me and my children. And the best thing is that they’re better and braver for it too. Lainey will fly and you will be so proud of your beautiful ballerina.

  205. You are an amazing mom. Doing everything just right! I had to stay with my son at preschool. What worked for me was, after staying half of they day a few times, I told him I could stay for five minutes then would have to go. It worked fine. These pictures are so sweet.

  206. You are both beautiful ballerinas!

  207. Anonymous says:

    Love this post-one of my favorites!

  208. Adrienne says:

    Totally know how you are feeling–I was the same way when my girl started ballet. It is so hard to let go, to accept they are becoming big girls, but you are right, it has to be done, for her, for you. Good luck on this new journey–you will both do great!!! Love the pics, by the way :)

  209. Anonymous says:

    I have been following your blog for a little while now and I. am. obsessed. In a good way. I love your blog. I am 22 years old and I have wished and dreamed my whole life to be the kind of Mama you are. I yearn for that day. You remind me so much of my Mama. You are so inspiring. I was that shy little girl in ballet class. The homebody. And just like you, my Mama did everything with me. Every dance class, field trip, football and basketball game where I cheered, moved me to college and made sure she saw me every week, and so much more. And she has four children! But I am the only homebody and because of it I have a special bond with my parents. I turned out just fine, I think! :) I even work for my Daddy now and just moved back home just because I wanted to. That’s how much of a homebody I am! I think it says a lot for your parenting when your child loves you so much and wants you to be a part of everything. Thanks for writing! I sure do enjoy reading!

    South Carolina

  210. Once again your expressions of love and being Mama have moved me to laughter and tears…slightly different dynamic for me but same kind of Mama Bear feelings. My baby (14) will be a freshman in high school next week. I am in awe of the young woman she is and is becoming. I learn from her all the time about style and grace and kindness. And I KNOW she will be fine…better than fine. But still – I want to go with her. I want to hold her hand as she walks down the hall to her locker and to her new classrooms. I want to make sure all the other girls are nice to her and treat her with the respect she deserves. She may not know every word to the latest Lady Gaga song and she may wear one of her favorite Liza Minnelli t-shirts – but she is awesome and beautiful and smart and independent and those other girls need to recognize! And the boys need to respect and recognize too…and keep their distance. LOL
    When our babies are little and they instinctively reach up to hold Mama’s hand just because they feel like they’re supposed to – that’s wonderful. But when they’re “big girls” and they reach for Mama’s hand…it’s priceless.

  211. I think it’s wonderful that you stayed with her on this first day – hopefully your presence helped her feel safe and secure in this new space, which will make it so much easier for her to go in by herself next week. Much better than having her be traumatized and not want to go back at all!

    Even the schools where I live have the parents stay with the kids on their first day, to help them feel secure as they adapt to their new environment. Good for you for not following the cookie-cutter rules! Because our kids are each unique little cookies 😉

  212. Anonymous says:

    Kelle, I remember when I took my son to preschool at age 4 after being at home with me for all those years. Someone told me about a song, “My mommy comes back, she always comes back, she always comes back to get me…” I have it on an old videotape somewhere of kids songs. It was exactly what he and I both needed to hear!

  213. Jessica the Dance Teacher says:

    And the best part? After the class, the sweet teacher (who was amazing with these three-year-olds, by the way, and who thankfully didn’t make me feel like the ass I was by kicking me out in front of everyone) came over to me smiling and said, “She did great! Maybe next class you can sit out even if she cries” which I’m pretty sure is code for “Dude, you broke every rule in this place and set a really bad example for everyone. Cut the cord, bitch. Cut the cord.”
    ^^That totally made me laugh!! As a dance teacher of little ones like Lainey, I can tell you that that is EXACTLY what she was politely trying to tell you. Hahahahaha!!! Have fun in dance class, Lainey!

  214. O’ I so feel your feelings.. As my oldest baby is 3 1/2 and this year has been different for sure, so many new things to explore… going from this sweet toddler who needed her momma to I’m independent and I can do it momma I don’t need you.. But then there are times she needs her momma too and those are the moments I treasure the most.. O’ locking momma out of the room, it just breaks my heart, she will say Mommy can you and little Sissy just leave my room please I want to play by myself.. As my heart is crushed me and my other sweet little walk out of the room and give her the space she needs/wants.. O’ how wonderful it is to watch this little sweet baby go from newborn, thru toddler hood and now to this little girl with all her own ideas, thoughts and plans. My girl always has really big plans and knows wheres she going and what she’s wants to accomplish.. I’m so Proud to be her momma… Enjoy your weekend!

  215. That was beautiful! Thank you.

  216. I am pretty sure that I should not be crying in my office – but maybe that will teach me to read your blog when I am at home and can cry in the comfort of my home. Great post – great pictures – I am learning so much from your words.

  217. that’s so funny! i mean not really but…my best friend has a 3 yr old. and she did soccer for the first time this year. well Molly (the little girl) wouldn’t stay on the field unless her mom was with her. there were about 15 kids and she was the only parent on the inside. i kept thinking how sad it was that she can’t be independent like all of the other kids. this wasn’t the first thing her mom (my bff) doesn’t let her do independently. i don’t know. i just feel like molly will never get to understand how to do things on her own. (at the rate things are going)

    this didn’t just happen on the first day of soccer. it was everyday. haha. but now i understand that it’s just hard to let go sometimes. i told my dad about how my friend had to be out there the whole time and how molly never listened to what the instructor said, she was always off doing something else, and how she never wore the team shirt. haha he said, “she’s 3.” yeah. but so is every other kid out there. wearing their team shirts and following what the instructor is telling them…on their own.

    i guess she kinda was being independent. haha.

  218. this post brought tears to my eyes. my sweet girl is 19 months old and even now i can cry thinking about the day i have to leave her at school, dance class, somewhere i won’t be.

    lainey looked just too cute in her ballerina duds. i am so sure she will love her class. and i am sure you will love watching her from behind the glass…i’ll be checking back to hopefully suck up some of your mommy strength for when i need it!

  219. This was beautiful!!!

  220. What a sweet post. She is beautiful and I am looking forward to hearing about it goes next week.

  221. this post was so great. i never comment but i just had to tell you that i felt while i read. i laughed and almost cried. and i dont even have kids. thanks for helping us understand and grow and think.

  222. This post was beautiful. I have been reading your blog for months now. I look forward to new posts, but I’ve never left a comment. Today’s post was so wonderful that I just had to comment. Your words say what I’m feeling exactly, but more beautiful than I could ever say it.

    As soon as I scrolled down from her first ballet picture to the new one, I instantly cried. My daughter is almost two and I too am having a hard time letting go. First is was the bottle, then diapers, now a “big girl” bed. I hope I have the courage to stay in the class with my little and dance with her too. Who cares about those other mama’s?

  223. There are days I hate that my babies are growing up (yes, one is 10 the other is 7 – they will always be MY babies). I don’t have ballet to hover over, I have sports – Football, baseball, basketball. And, it’s all wonderful watching your babies out on the field, but, did you know that when they get hurt, moms are not allowed to go on the field?? That’s not a game rule, that is an unwritten rule that if broken your child is pegged as a momma’s boy the rest of his life. WEll, that’s what my husband says. So, we moms sit together, cheer as we should then hold each other’s hands tight if anything happens. Not fair I say. They aren’t supposed to grow up like this. My oldest starts tackle football this year…I need a gallon of the peach butter!

  224. oh, hurting heart. i too have a 3 year old going on 15. there is no baby left in her whatsoever (except when she sleeps… then i can see her sweet innocent baby face sometimes). i can’t believe the self-consciousness and embarrassment that develops at such a young age. my daughter loves to sing, and will start to sing a song for a relative or friend, then get shy or stop herself if she makes a mistake. the higher concepts that she’s picking up just astound me, too.

    my girl has gone to daycare part-time since she was 18 months, and my favourite part about it is when i come to pick her up and she hasn’t seen me yet. i linger at the door and take a moment to observe her interacting with the others, hear her speaking independently, not knowing mommy is there (because there really is ‘switch’ moment when she sees me… it’s like a dependency coat she puts on!). when they are given the platform to interact on their own, they really do come through. she will do it and she’ll be great!

    i just have to say, there is no possible way your girls could not turn out awesome. you are more enthusiastic and involved than any mother i know, and THAT is what teaches them, more than the scoldings or how you dealt with such-and-such a discipline issue from one day to the next. lainey will emulate you, regardless of what you say to her in words.

    when i read your blog, i am often jealous. not of you or the things you have, but of your girls getting to have you as their mother!!! i would give anything to have had a mom like you. your girls will see your genuine joy and how you delight in them, and that’s what will build their security, strong identities, and ability to love others.

  225. Sweet story. I went through the same thing when my 3 yr old started ballet, they didn’t even give us a chance to go in with them the teacher called all of her little “Peanuts” and they dance into the room like princesses. Just remember your friends response, it was so true. I can’t wait to see more pictures of Lainey the Ballerina. My house is covered with recital pictures, I’d post them but you might get sick of looking at my girl LOL!!! Soar Lainey girl and dance like the wind!!!!!!!

  226. Oh, my gosh! Your description of everything was friggin’ hilarious. I actually giggled out loud when I got to your translation of what the teacher really meant! Oh, parenting IS so hard. But what an amazing journey it is. Sweet little Lainey Love will do great as she begins to tentatively stretch out those little wings. I can’t wait to see pics from her next class!

  227. I love you and your out look on life so much!!! You are an amazing person and I truly admire you. I am going through the same thing at the moment. My first born is going to be starting 4k in September. We got him enrolled just the other day. I am happy and excited with him, yet want to bawl my eyes out all at the same time. The day isn’t here yet but when it comes I am going to have a hard time just leaving him there, esp if he is asking me not to leave. But I feel the same as you and want nothing more then for my kids to be strong and independent, but it is very hard to let go. I am sure though that your post will help me when Sept. 1st rolls around. Thank you!!

  228. No words, just tears of understanding.

    Thank You.

  229. My heartstrings pull for you on this one. My little lady is only 14 months old yet I can’t imagine letting go. She too has had no daycare and my husband even tries to convince me to take he to the gyms daycare while I work out saying that it will be good for me and good for her – I don’t. I know someday this will be us and I too will be the mom taking pictures and breaking all the rules…you aren’t alone.

  230. She is just adorable! You are an awesome mom for holding her hand when she asked you too. She will have even more confidence just because of that simple request you granted for her.

  231. Such a beautiful story and lovely pictures today. Lainey is looking awfully grown-up and quite beautiful. What a lucky girl to have such a wonderful, loving Mom! Congrats to you both for making it through that 1st class in your own way. :)

  232. I love your post…it gives me peace that i am not the only mom that doesn’t like to let go and feels that they are just still too little at the age of 2-3. Your daughters are beautiful, your words are beautiful, you are beautiful…. and I listen to your playlist daily. LOVE IT & this blog. :) xo

  233. love it. still chuckling over you twirling and prancing with lainey.
    i just wish you woulda REALLY REALLY REALLY committed and put on a matching leotard and tights.

    jonah does the same thing, cept he does 5 reallys. 2 quick really’s in a row followed by a drawn out REALLLLY. just to, ya know, drive the point home.


  234. I feel like I’m completely speaking out of turn here as a carefree and childless 26 year-old bachelorette but at the same time, something keeps bringing me back to this place. I’ve concluded it must be proof positive that love and beauty are relatable truths no matter what your stage in life. I’ve been reading you since the Great Birth Story of 2010 and finally feel compelled to comment just now. Maybe it’s because Lainey really is all grown up – obvious even to someone like me, a stranger on the outside looking in to the beautiful life you’ve created.

  235. “You pour your soul into them, hoping every internal thought and feeling of goodness and love seeps into every bone in their body, every cell in their frame so that they feel it…so that they know it…”
    Really?? Could you have said that any more perfectly??? :) Sometimes when I kiss her, I kiss her hard hoping that somehow my love will sink in a little more than the last time :)
    Thank you again for putting words to how I feel as I go through this journey :)

  236. Oh this is soooo good for both of you.

    It always kills me to see my girlies be anxious about new situations, new friends, new enviroments (every first day of school is an “event” for my littlest). I can’t tell you how many elephant sized tears I’ve cried (and will still cry) in bathroom stalls and parking lots after I’ve calmly encouraged, coaxed and convinced my babe that she is going to be ok (really the words are for me!).

    Oh but when they are over the hump of the “newness,” their joy of the experience is life affirming… trigging more mama tears of course!

    And just to prove that anxious littles (and mamas) can grow out of it. . . my mama-needin’ 9 year old was recently accepted as an jazz/ballet apprentice with our local dance company. I am so proud of her – its a huge deal not only for her skill accomplishment but for her ability to overcome her mama-inherited anxiety.

    You both can do it!
    ;o) Alison

  237. I so appreciate this post right now!
    My little girl turns 3 TODAY! And in a few short weeks she’ll be starting preschool! I am having a hard time all ready and she hasn’t even had her first day yet!
    I’m so excited for all she will do and learn, and I know she will drink up every minute of glue sticks, and markers, and play ground games, and new friend. She’ll be smitten.
    But part of me worries… What if the kids notice she’s a little behind? What if she gets teased? What if she sees kids laughing at something strange she does, and mistakes their laughter for an invitation to be friends and does that strange thing again? What about when she realizes they are not being nice to her? What if she realizes that she is behind everyone else? What if…
    But like you said – we have to trust that all the loving and snuggling and doting and teaching has brought them to a place where they’re ready. They’re ready to be a little kid with all the joys and pains that brings.
    And somehow I just know that Scarlett is going to handle this transition much more gracefully than I. For every one thing I’ve taught her, she’s taught me a myriad of things.
    And that’s what makes parenthood so strangely bizarre and exciting and wonderful; watching your child unintentionally reveal the entire world and all of its goodness to you in a way you could never appreciate without them.
    And Lainey, you make a GORGEOUS ballerina! You look so angelic in your leotard and tights! Enjoy this new chapter love :)

  238. This post made me cry. I have a little girl that spends ZERO time away from me. I think hubby and I have been out for dinner 4 times in 15 months? And I not so secretly try to plan it for after bedtime so she doesn’t realize I’ve left. This post is me in 2 years! And reading your words that it’s good for her and it’s good for you are things I’ve tried to tell myself so many times! Sigh…why do things that are good for us kind of feel sad sometimes?!

  239. Is it utterly ridiculous that I am crying my eyes out over this post? I don’t even have children yet (but I think of them all the time). I think this hit me deep deep down in my gut (and heart) because it made me think of my own mom and our relationship, which is slowly turning into something healthy and new and lovely. Because I know that at some point (probably several points), she had to let go. And experience everything you’re sharing. Even if that letting go only really happened last month.

    Thanks for showing me what motherhood looks like. It helps me be a kinder, more compassionate, more gracious daughter.

  240. Anonymous says:

    This post brought me to tears, tears, tears!! It hit so close to home for me!!! Every word you wrote spoke of my very feelings towards this “letting go” phase of parenting. Letting go is so very hard as they grow up in this big wide world of ours!! It’s Lainey’s eyes, as she rests her little hands on the ballerina bar, that spoke volumes to me! I have seen those eyes so many times as my little man encountered the road of growing up and becoming a BIG boy. Eyes that would whisper “Mama, stay with me. I want to be here but I just need you with me”. He too is very shy and nervous with new transitions. He also needed his Mama to hold his hand and slowing (very slowly) letting go as he gained more insight into the given activity. Any given activity from music classes, to swim lessons, to sport teams to bike camps was approached with excitement and anticipation and he was pumped up at home and on route, but, once we arrived and there was other new kids and other new parents and new sounds and new surroundings things changed…and those eyes of fear and uncertainty came out…and I held his hand and I was the Mom that rarely sat in the hall but was the one who danced it up in music class and ran alongside him on the soccer field…and slowly but surely the day came that he was ready to do it on his own, and his eyes glowed with certainty and pride! They all will do it, on their own terms and at their own rate. It is our job to read it, and to listen to our Mama hearts and THEY (and no other) will let us know when to cut the cord. Some later than others …and that is okay!!
    Lainey is one blessed little girl to have a Mama that really listens!! Break the rules Kelle!! Don’t worry what others may think. As ALL of your readers have commented before me, you will know when to cut the cord. So dance with your little ballerina and in your words “breath it all in, drink it all up, enjoy the deliciousness of it all’ She will soar and spread her own wings and become a strong confident young lady one day with deep roots because you have been there for her.
    Well, that was therapeutic for moi! Thanks for always sharing your insights and for always inspiring!!

  241. Maybe someone else has already said this, or maybe you’ve already realized it. But those other little girls have probably been in mother’s day out, or preschool, or some other kind of program. You didn’t do a bad thing by being there for her on her first day with a crowd she didn’t know. You gave her confidence that she’ll take with her next time when you’re sitting outside. You’re a great mom and I ADORE your blog!

  242. Maybe someone else has already said this, or maybe you’ve already realized it. But those other little girls have probably been in mother’s day out, or preschool, or some other kind of program. You didn’t do a bad thing by being there for her on her first day with a crowd she didn’t know. You gave her confidence that she’ll take with her next time when you’re sitting outside. You’re a great mom and I ADORE your blog!

  243. This post really hit home for me – I came to the realization last week that my little girl is growing up and it changed everything about the way I’m parenting. It WAS so easy when all you had to do was love on them… but now we have to be examples and teachers and… parents! I question every decision I make now because I’m afraid it will affect her for the rest of her life.

    I guess all we can do is our best and give love and yes, let them fly. :)

  244. Anonymous says:

    Ugh – so hard, but of course you DID need to take those beautiful pictures, so that’s reason enough to hang out in ballet class.

    :) h. from Canada

  245. Love, love, love your blog! My all time-fave! I just love your take on life. So refreshing! Keep it up!

  246. My sweet little baby girl will be starting preschool in September. She clings to me now. And I know we both need this, but I know it will be so hard.

  247. That post made me cry… perhaps it is pregnancy hormones but I cried just the same. I know that there will be a time when I send my little two year old off to do something big without me, and that this baby in my belly won’t be with me forever. I know that bit of sadness is only because my love for my babies is hardcore. It helps me to see other moms who love their babies like I love mine taking it one step at a time and thriving together. Thanks for posting!

  248. Thank you for such a beautiful post.

    My “baby” girl turned 26 years old this week, and became engaged to a wonderful man. Yes, she’s all grown up. But she’s still my little girl.

    Everything you wrote was exactly as it was 23 years ago for me and my girl, and exactly as it will be for other girls and their moms 23 years from now and beyond.

    They learn and grow and inevitably, find their own way in the world, but they always know their moms are there with them, every step of the way. Even when they are on the other side of the studio door.

    Thank you for sharing so beautifully about something so universal and timeless in such a lovely way. Like all the mothers of 2 and 3 year-olds who said it was just what THEY needed to hear, so it was for me, too.

  249. nikki Cooper - ATL says:

    oh my,, i am crying again with this one… i love this post. I am right there with ya sista. and letting go IS so hard. how can you say no when they say “mama please stay??!!!!

  250. Don’t know if you will ever read this, but I just wanted to say thanks so much for this post.

    I read this while nursing my 10-month old in the middle of the night. I was so tired and was feeling frustrated with him waking & being so difficult to get back to sleep. But when I read your post it just made me realize how much I should cherish this time as it will pass all too quickly. So I just took a breath, looked down at him & soaked in the moment. I even held him for a while once he fell back asleep. It’s hard sometimes (especially at 3am!!!) to remember how precious this time is. Thanks for reminding me!

  251. your posts always touch me right in that soft spot…this post was painfully, excruciatingly precious…and I relate to you on so many levels…my daughter is 2.5 and watching her grow up is the best gift that I’ve ever been given, it’s also so very hard to let go as you say and to stop thinking of her as a baby…this post brought tears to my eyes and i’m so grateful that I get to experience this joy!

  252. OMG and now reading the comments…more tears! Blessed, truly blessed are we!

  253. Hi Kelle,

    I follow your blog religiously and enjoy your words and pictures so much. You really do inspire people like me to enjoy the small things in life. Congratualations to Lanie on her first ballet class; she is beautiful. My 10 year old ballerina has been dancing for 7 years and I really think it is her favorite thing in life! I loved the beginning of your post b/c I am in a different stage of parenting – that of school age kids and it is so different. It is such a challenge daily to help them grow up to become everything that you mentioned you wanted for your kids. They have their own “ideas” and attitudes and guiding them is such a challenge. It is still wonderful and you love them even more but oh, is it hard. I miss those days of when just feeding them, snuggling them and keeping them safe was the order of the day. But, then you get to watch them dance in dance recitals and navigate their own friendships and read their own books and talk to you about them and all the other fun stuff and it is good to, but it is a hard job that you would never give up! What a journey!!

  254. This blog post is exactly what I needed today! My son is six months old and starting daycare in a few weeks when I start back to nursing school. I’ve been a mess for weeks and each day I get a little worse. I can’t even sleep because all I do is worry about how he’ll do in daycare and what if he gets sick or what if he misses me and cries all day. I cried and cried while reading this blog post and now I’m feeling better. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one out there who’s having a hard time letting go!

  255. You know what?! Screw what the teacher and the other mothers think! You got to be there to capture this wonderful moment in photographs…and be that inner ballerina…

    I’m sure I’ll do the same thimg…

  256. What a great legacy to leave your children…their life in words and photos! No one talked of blogging when I was raising four little ones, but I love reading a special few…yours included. Another one is this amazing young mom of three and she so happens to be my niece. Today she blogged about my baby girl…who is now 24!


  257. My first born (and second, but not my baby) was EXACTLY like Lainey…shy and a bit fearful in new situations. I used to get frustrated that I was the *only* Mama who needed to stay at birthday parties, playdates, dance class, etc. Looking back, I wish I had let that frustration go! That is what she needed until she was ready to “fly on her own”. She is now 24, and is a very confident, outgoing, successful business woman..and she just got married last week! :o)
    Listen to your gut, Kelle. It’s always right. You will know when to pull back (maybe sit IN the room next week and watch..) Maybe after 2 or 3 more times, you can be out with the other Mamas. Don’t worry about what they think, really. I did, and it was useless worry. You are a wonderful Mama because you KNOW what your girls need. I admire you tremendously. Keep up the love!

  258. aww, so touching. I love the pic of Lainey resting her chin on the bar. :) *tear*

  259. Good for you for staying in the room! It’s one thing to say when she’s doing just fine, but she ASKED for you for crying out loud! And if she wants you to stay for the next class, I say you stay for the next class, dammit!

    Adding my name to the list of criers today… and a heartfelt thank you for reminding me to savor each moment with my 1 year old!

  260. Anonymous says:

    Kelle, I must say this post spoke to me. I’ll be letting my oldest go in the fall. She starts kindergarten and I’m terrified. I know she’ll do fine, but I don’t want to have to leave her! And I’ve never been one of “those” parents either, but I feel it creeping up on me, lol. Thanks for the post! I look forward to reading lots more:-)

  261. Oh Kelle, add this to my list of faves. I remember taking my little girl to her first ballet class. Oh the pictures we took, oh the fun we had picking out the tights and the new shoes… my little girl turned 13 this summer. Now we wear braces on our teeth and pick out what soft shade of blue eyeshadow to wear today. *sigh* Time flies Kelle. Seriously…flies. I swear it was just last week that I walked her up all of those stairs to stand on hardwood floors and hold onto the bar attached to the mirror. You just keep on soaking up those moments and relishing in each day because these days go way way too fast. What I would do to take my Kait back to the days of our first ballet class.

    I too laughed out loud at “Dude, you broke every rule in this place and set a really bad example for everyone. Cut the cord, bitch. Cut the cord.” I’m positive I’ve seen that look shot in my direction.

  262. So hard to cut the cord…so hard! Nici had some very true, very wise (and nurturing) words for you…

  263. Sometimes I stop and think about how many mamas are feeling or have felt the EXACT same way I’m feeling.

    My girl is almost three – and she seems so grown up. Sometimes I can’t remember how she was as a tiny baby, and the moments where I catch a glimpse of her former baby-ness are very few and far between.

    I’m always telling my husband about how she said This, and can you believe she said That? She seems to understand so much, and wants to learn more, and even though I’m not sure how much she grasps I try to give her as much as I can. She usually nods and says “yeah, sure” like she knew all along. :)

    I hold onto my 8-month-old and whisper into his ear that mama loves her little baby SO MUCH, and please stop growing because I just want to hold onto him forever. *sigh*

    Why is it so hard sometimes? They’re still young… there are many exciting adventures ahead of them… so many things to look forward to but we just want to suspend time or even turn back the clock.

    My throat hurts with emotion… I try not to be the helicopter mom, but inside my heart is fluttering and whirring and flying nearby.

  264. I love the pictures! She looks so grown up. What a special day she had.

  265. oh I love it. And while you never know what others are thinking, you can bet that there were some tired moms out in the lobby who were looking at you and feeling a tad guilty that they were loving the time to themselves, that they just didn’t have the energy to twirl that day, and that you were a good mom.

  266. Probably the most truthful post I have ever read that I can appreciate. It caught ME off guard just reading about letting Lainey go… this is my biggest fear for myself, not even for my little. I worry that when the time comes I wont be able to let her go. Thank you for somehow preparing me for what is going to come. My mom always told me that one day I will understand. I do now. And I am scared for how I am going to handle it. What if I can’t?

  267. Such a beautiful post, Kelle! And doesn’t Lainey look absolutely precious in her little leotard and tap shoes and bun! You seem like a wonderful mom, and Lainey (and Nella!) are so very lucky to have you. Can’t wait to hear how Lainey progresses in her class.

  268. Hands on the hip = favorite picture 😉 She’s so adorable.

  269. I’ve been reading for months now and your blog is just…well beautiful. This particular post really captured my heart (though there have been many). You did what your little needed you to do today, she was in a unfamiliar environment and you gave her the needed boost. So you broke a few rules! Those rules will be there next week to observe…unless your little needs you for one more week, then there is always the week after that! LOL! Learning to be confident is a journey and feeling your love & presence today was just what she needed.

  270. Going through these responses makes me think of when I put my daughter in preschool. I did not want her to go alone. So, I got a job there too teaching mother’s day out. Well, the first day of school 9/11 happened. Geeze! And I was in the same building with my sweetie, though opposite sides. I wanted to get her and run home and never leave the house again. Even with a day as bad as that day was, it got better.

  271. you are a great mom, your girls are lucky to have you:)

  272. precious!

  273. Oh I totally understand. I always think “Why upset them when you dont have to.” lol She will do great. What a sweet beautiful post. Cant wait to hear how she does next week.

  274. I found you right after Nella’s birth story and am a devoted follower to your words, pictures and beautiful life. I, like another reader carefully leave your blog post to last. After I’ve caught up on all the days news, my other blogging reads, settle down with a refreshing or toasty drink, I can’t wait to read your post. I save it to last like a gift I give myself and you have never disappointed!!!! I ALWAYS cry AND laugh. You inspire me to find the beauty in my own life, even in the struggles. AND most recently another gift I give myself is after reading through your blog, I now search through the hundreds of comments to find Poppa’s comments. He always adds a nugget of love, wisdom. I LOVE how his love for you shines through every comment, how he’s still “cheering” you on. Its just beautiful. I’m not as articulate as I wish to be but simply thank you for sharing your life, and heart with us!!!

  275. She’s so precious. In the last few she reminds me of a “Precious Moment”. Thanks for sharing your life!

  276. that was a beautiful post…the photos are amazing..you are a great mother..and your daughter will be a brilliant ballerina.

  277. that was a beautiful post…the photos are amazing..you are a great mother..and your daughter will be a brilliant ballerina.

  278. that was a beautiful post…the photos are amazing..you are a great mother..and your daughter will be a brilliant ballerina.

  279. I am also a long-time reader and this is my first time commenting.
    I LOVED this post. Seriously loved it. My sweet girl is about a month and a half younger than Nella, so still attached to me (quite literally) all the time. However, recently I have thought about how someday, I would love for her to take ballet when she is Lainey’s age, how I would love to buy her that first pair of ballet shoes and twirl with my baby.
    And while that moment will be so precious when it comes, and I look even more forward to those days thanks to your blog, I am going to hold her and love on her even tighter tomorrow, and enjoy her little-ness even more!

  280. This comment has been removed by the author.

  281. For me, it was yellow play-dough – I dropped my baby off at 3 year old pre-school – amid “don’t leave me, Mommy” she found the yellow play-dough. That was all she needed.I was all “bye, Brynn” as the teacher kindly escorted me to the door, and she barely glanced my way ..She soared and I cried in the hall -it’s the natural progression – Brynn is starting High School this fall and I am still crying..Milestones are precious…enjoy this time

  282. Merrilyn says:

    I could so relate to this post! My 5 year old daughter has never been to daycare or preschool, either, although she gets plenty of time with friends, as Lainey does. We’ve done different little classes over the years: gymnastics and swimming, mostly. She was pretty clingy when she was 2 and 3, but now, she races off with hardly a backward glance. I’ve done some pretty embarrassing things in gymnastics class at her request while all the other parents sit and watch, too! It is so amazing to watch them come into their own and grow that confidence that will help them soar. And it’s just as intimidating to have to facilitate the building of it! Shelter her all you want! This is just my opinion, but these kids learn more from staying home in their wonderful little bubbles we create for them, and are better able to draw on those resources, than if they were anywhere else.

  283. My baby girl is 11 months old. She started walking yesterday. And today was totally different. She felt so much older. She’s got more spunk, personality, and energy than my husband and I combined. Times 10! :) And we’ve been talking about this very subject. And I’m a little nervous about moving beyond “caring” into “parenting.” I used to work with teens and saw so many helicopter parents. And I judged them. And now I’m humbled to realize it’s my own tendency. Letting go is hard, but it’s right and good. So there’s a little piece of my story. I share it to say thank you for putting my thoughts and my heart into words. I was introduced to your blog a few weeks ago and I love it. I love the photography. I love your poignant words. I’m inspired to enjoy the small things each time I read it…

  284. Our journey has begun!… secretly though

    If I’ve left you this message, you’re a follower of my original blog ~OR~ just someone I’ve happened upon while sending out these invites and that I would LOVE for to come along for the ride! Though I won’t be revealing who I am just yet – until we’re TO and THROUGH the first trimester! Just getting the word out about our new site – further explanation of all the secrecy and what we’re about on my first post. I’d love for you to stop by.

    Exciting things going on around here!


    ~ the {secret} *Maybe* Baby Mama

  285. Jennifer C. says:

    Kelle you are an amazing mother. From my experience, the first class is always the most difficult- you and her had no idea about what to expect.
    Next week will be fabulous.
    Thank you for your wonderful photos and honest words.

  286. Oh man, you made me cry Kelle!! Three is more of a challenge than 2. More emotional intricacies to navigate. Lainey has the warmth and love of her family to journey on through. We have 3 months left of 3 and I am excited about what 4 will bring!! X

  287. loved your post. your little lainey and nella both will thrive (and even survive the times of separation), they are secure in their parent’s love and provision.

    i too, knew i wanted to read Poppa’s comment. grin. yes, they grow up and we continue to cheer them on from afar.

  288. Letting go is so hard…..just wait until she dances up on stage for recital. You will be so, SO proud!

    Love the pics, as always!!!

  289. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I just put my barely one year old in day care and it is so hard to let go. You are so right. But I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes now, doing it for the first time with a 3 year old, so I feel better about it.

  290. Your girls are a bit younger than my two girls. My oldest turns four soon and my youngest has just turned two. When I read your blog I think “Yes that’s exactly how it feels”. Some days your wonderful words, the way you so effortlessly give love and kindness and tenderness and understanding and joy to your children, makes me nervous that I haven’t done enough. I worry that my example isn’t good enough, that my tree needs to be stronger. And as my oldest gets closer to four…and then five…oh I just want to hold her close and have those early years again, so I can fill them with more good things. I worry that I haven’t properly expressed just how much I love her. But then I look at her, and she just shines with goodness. If I haven’t done enough, she’s done the rest on her own.
    These days we are getting “Are you leaving now Mama? I want to play with my friends” and it’s like each word is a little stab in my heart. But it’s good too. She’s growing up. She still runs back to my arms.
    Thank you for your blog. It reminds me to be a stronger tree. I need that.

  291. My little just started preschool at 40 months. She has never been in any daycare/preschool…but sometimes you have to be a little “mean” for the bigger picture of happy.
    Letting them go, to prepare them for the world, is all part of the amazing love for them.

  292. Anonymous says:

    This is only on of the many many “firsts” for all of you…It is a right of passage and one that only you as you can experience in your own way. I love that you did what you did and gave her the confidence to see what it was all about and that you made it fun for her. I think this is one of the reasons I have spent my life working in a preschool…helping children and families with this transition into the “big” world. I truly believe allowing children the opportunity to experience a little of their “Own Adventure” time, in ballet class,other activities and yes in preschool(not daycare) will give them the tools they need to spread their wings and soar!!!! I am really looking forward to another wonderful school year with all the Little ones as they enter another chapter in their lives in my preschool.
    Sammy Mac’s MIMI,
    Jackie Elmer
    Vanderbilt Learning Center

  293. Kelle – this post just tickles me…made me laugh right out. when mine were that age i was much like you. screw those other moms…your kid knows you’ll be a fool for her. priceless. and i can’t help but notice the confident stance that your little lainey uses. she believes in herself because you believe in her.

  294. For those of you who mention, “I know you will probably never read this” she does…she really does…and so do I. The comments are like frosting on an already delicious cupcake…thank you all for sharing your stories, your memories, your tears, your giggles…like echoes that continue. (and if this shows up with multiples, it is because I am down here at my condo, hacking into someone’s unsecured wireless in the building and I have about a bar and a half of strength and it comes and goes…ughhh!)

  295. Stephanie Peyton says:

    I would so be ‘that’ mom too. A lot of times I think I need my daughter more than she needs me. I can’t wait to get her in some fun little classes, she’s only 2 right now but I know she would LOVE to dance around in a tutu and make new friends.
    I always wanted to be a ballerina too. If I had come across some toe shoes at a yardsale I soooo would have gotten them too. In fact, I’m 25 and I still would buy them lol.

    Also, just wanted to thank you for your amazing playlist. A lot of times when I finish reading your posts I leave your site up in the background and just let the playlist run. Always seems to suit my moods perfectly.

  296. Oh Kelli,

    Reading your experience in this post, I was so reminded of when my sweet girl was 3, which was two years ago. We had just moved to our current home. Our neighborhood had tons of little’s ranging in ages of 3-10 that frequently roamed our one-street subdivision. They were all best of friends, regardless of the age differences. After a week of her enviously watching as the “big guls” (aka big girls) meandered through the neighborhood trails, the magical moment finally came…The doorbell rang and this was the beginning of pure delight for my “only-child” girl…She was asked to join in with this bunch of littles! Standing at the front door, watching as they headed off across that open field, she turned around, and with just a moments hesitation, I’ll never forget watching her spread her wings right before my eyes. The look on her face was a combination of the same painfully shy as you spoke about with Laney and also she was searching from afar for permission and reassurance from her Mama. It still humbles me today and I tear up with pride just watching her as she was gaining her own confidence. Btw, good for you for twirling with your little one…she’ll not only tell her babies about this but also have the confidence to dance with them also! ;0) Thanks for this post and your blog, you are truly an inspiration for me!

  297. Love how you totally took the shots anyway, though you may have been getting weird looks. My Ally is a couple days younger than Lainey and I had the same thought yesterday when we napped together. She’s so big now!

  298. Oh…how I relate! Ours was a gymnastics class, then dance, then preschool, then Kindergarten. It never got easy for me…but they adjust and grow. And they watch us and learn how to juggle it all from us. Terrifying, yet so “just as it should be.” Can’t wait to hear how it goes next week. Let the other Mama’s talk…we all do what we think is best for our own. And she will thrive with your guidance!!

  299. THIs is amazing! Can’t stop the tears! I know the feeling… it’s happening in our house in 1 month… My little becomes big and starts pre school. all.by.himself. no ME! ahhh!

    “cut the cord bitch” ha hahahahahha love that! No one knows your baby better than you… And you both needed that experience in there. To be together while letting go.

    And when Lainey is a mama and looks back on this and remembers that first day and how you were there for her, she will be just as confident to do what’s best for her baby too… because you are teaching her that now. because you don’t care about the eye rolling others or the teacher dangling the scissors! you are amazing kelle!

    This touched my heart soooo deeply. I feel like this post should be read by every single parent who has to let go for the first time! i love it! xoxo

  300. Kelle you were brilliant in dance class!! I would have,(and did),the same thing. ANYTHING to make your child comfortable. Who cares what the other parents were thinking. I will guarantee you that 99% of the little girls in that class all asked their mamas, in car riding home, “Why didn’t you dance with me like that other mama did with her daughter?”….I would bet my life on that!

    It is crazy to see how quickly they grow….trust me the best is yet to come!

    xo, Bug & Ruby’s Gram

  301. Anonymous says:

    Aw..if she really want’s her goo-goo back, she’s not quite so big yet.

  302. i love reading your blog. somedays, i laugh out loud, others i cry. today i cried. my ‘little’s’ are 21 and 25 yrs. as much as i wanted to hold them close and protect them, i pushed them to be the wonderfully confident, independent young women they have become. and i am so very proud of them. but i remember the pain….thank you, kelle, for sharing your wonderful family with us

  303. I haven’t commented in a while (I was feeling stalkerish…which I am not), but I had to comment on this. I’m in tears because I have this to look forward to. Ella will be 2 in November and she’s already speaking in 4 word sentences and telling me what to do (mommy, play the drum…while I drive). I can’t wait to take her to a dance class, or gymnastics, or cheering, or whatever she has her heart set on.

    As always, thank you for sharing your beautiful life. It makes me appreciate and love mine even more.

  304. Antoinette says:

    Whew, this post strikes a cord with most of us, I think. I remember walking my oldest to her first day of preschool and the lump in my throat was huge.

    Do not, for one minute, worry about doing whatever feels right for you and your little Lainey. Who cares what others think about it? I stood within three feet of my little one (as per her specifications!) for the first day of preschool, then sat on a bench at the side of the room the next day, and over the course of the next few weeks (yes, that’s WEEKS), moved to the bench outside the door with the door open, then with the door just slightly ajar, then the door closed. Yes, I got the slightly pitying and puzzled looks from the other parents. Yes, I wondered whether I had done something wrong to make her so careful of the world out there. But then, just like that, one fabulous day she decided she could do it on her own. And then, almost overnight, she BLOOMED, became one of the most outgoing kids in the class, always happy to step up, made lovely friends. I am so glad that we gave her what she needed to get there.

    By the way, my second daughter, on her way to her first day of preschool, told me “you just drop me off, and then you can come back to pick me up”. Beautiful!

  305. Aww…this is so sweet! It makes me a little teary eyed because I totally know that will be me someday with my little girl. Thanks for sharing!

  306. I’m so happy for Lainey she’s doing ballet! I think if a girl does ballet for a good few years then whatever you try to learn, skiing or horse riding or whatever it is, you take to it because you’ve learned about balance and poise. Although you seem to have plenty of that and you mentioned you never did ballet – till this lesson that is!

    She looks so contemplative, what a beautiful little girl. And I love what you say in this post. Certainly if your presence isn’t reassuringly felt no matter what, then no mother’s ever was.

  307. Oh Kelle, my kids are now 15 and 12(how on earth did THAT happen?!) and I still am a very watchful mama – but sometimes I do it more from a far. I was exactly where you are when my daughter was 3 and very shy in public settings. Over time I realized that she had absorbed all the love and confidence I had been pouring on her and she is now an AMAZING young woman who is prepared to take on the world (partly because mom always said she could and partly because that’s just her!) Your head will learn (as we all do) the moments to step in and the moments to step back. But Kelle, if I can share one thing with you – always, always trust your base instincts when it comes to your girls and when to let go v. when to hold on! And btw, don’t blink, they will be 12 and 15 before you can. But that’s ok too! xo

  308. omg. she is absolutely stunning! she is just like a big, ball of sunshine! how lucky you are to have such a beautiful daughter :)

  309. she’s a great ballerina already and may she always have your grace.

  310. Dear Kelle,
    When I was a wee babe, I remember taking ballet and tap lessons. I remember that our studio allowed Moms to watch….there was actually an “audience” session for moms. One day, my mom wasn’t there. I found out later, she was actually at the McDonald’s across the street having coffee. She did that for several Saturdays until she just started shopping Carytown (Richmond’s Madison Avenue) during my dance class. But, I survived, and I danced. I danced like my Momma was THERE, observing and critiquing, like any woman whose own Mom had run a dance studio would do.

    Lainey will do so well. I have such similar aspirations for my Anna Kate. Eventually, I learned that my Mommy was going home and NAPPING during my dance classes!!!! What a wonderful time for you and sweet Nella Bean to nap…..just sayin’…….

    Love your updates….keep ’em comin’.

  311. Kelle,

    This post made me laugh AND cry! Letting go is definitely hard…best to you as you move through those tough moments. To me it looks like you are doing it-beautifully!

    Carmen in Boston

  312. Oh Kelle this post made me cry! My little is 2 1/2 and everyday I see her doing stuff by herself and there is a part of me that’s like “cool”, then the other part of me is like . . .wait, I still need to help you! I want to enroll her in tumbling or something but I am waiting until next year. :) Both your girls are beautiful, as are you, and I know they will turn out just wonderful!

  313. So bitter sweet. Amazing how so many times your children can bring tears of joy and heartbreak at the same time. Sigh. What an honor to raise these littles, to hold them close and to give them wings to fly.

  314. i have a meeting with my son’s preschool teachers this week because i am such a wreck about the details :) like your ballet teacher, they are being VERY nice to the panicked mother :) virtual margaritas come the beginning of september anyone? and it’s only for a few hours. wahhh!

    i doubt any of those other little girls will remember their mom’s dancing at their first ballet class, i think it’s absolutely wonderful. following your heart and your intuition with your kids is what makes you YOU kelle and what inspires so many people!

  315. You can do it, mom! (it is ok to cry in the waiting room.) My daughters are grown and I still get to be their mom.

    Beautiful ballet pictures.


  316. Oh Kelle,
    I am so reminded of the first time I read your blog like almost 2 years ago and thought “wow” there’s someone else out there that thinks like me, who loves their little girl as much as I love mine….this is so cool to read about. And tonight I am brought back to that, hardcore. Crying big crocodile tears at this beautiful post. I feel you. And I smiled so big that you twirled with her, cause I’ll be doin the same thing. You are so strong to be able to write out all your honest feelings. You are such a great example. Beautiful Lainey and Nella are SOOOOOOOOOOO Lucky.

  317. What a precious little ballerina!

    She’ll find her wings, yes she will! They always do.

  318. Oh Kelle, your post brought tears to my eyes. I needed this post from you. My heart is there with you aching for saying goodbye to those moments and saying hello to the new. I cry even now typing this.

    I feel connected to you on this right now… my son is turning a year old in just over a week… and I find myself grieving his infancy… Its hard to let go… and I hope I can learn from you here to let go and continue to the next stage of his life.

    Thank you for this post.

  319. it is hard to let go and you will have a zillion more of those moments. but at least you recognize what you are doing and realize what you need to do. She’s at a great age, but it gets even better. every age my kids hit I wish I could freeze them at because each age is really, really the best….enjoy every second. :)

  320. You did it again…I was crying as you ended this – and I had to read it outloud to my beloved…and cried all over again.

    Oh that every mom was so purposeful in letting their kids know that they will always be there.

    I love that you danced with Lainey – she will have felt so special! Good for you for ignoring what “should” have been.

    Love how you love you your girls – thanks for taking this most important job so seriously! (and for letting us in on the process).

  321. Brit Girl says:

    Tears. Lainey is going to be a beautiful ballerina. You know, the first day C went to her settling in session at nursery (daycare), I initially thought I’d be so excited to have that rare time to myself – I’d have a coffee, browse in the shops etc for a couple of hours. Instead, I sat on a bench outside the nursery bawling my eyes out until it was time to pick her up. She soon settled in, though. Although my heart still twists a little each morning when I drop her off. Have a good week, Kelle.

  322. Brit Girl says:

    Tears. Lainey is going to be a beautiful ballerina. You know, the first day C went to her settling in session at nursery (daycare), I initially thought I’d be so excited to have that rare time to myself – I’d have a coffee, browse in the shops etc for a couple of hours. Instead, I sat on a bench outside the nursery bawling my eyes out until it was time to pick her up. She soon settled in, though. Although my heart still twists a little each morning when I drop her off. Have a good week, Kelle.

  323. Becky F. says:

    Your blog brought tears to my eyes. My little one is only 10 months, but you bring such a real voice to the complexities of parenthood. Thank you for your honesty and your willingness to share what it is really like to love your child.

  324. Yea, and it doesn’t get easier and time seems to fly by even faster. My two kids are going to first grade and Kindergarten!! But, what a journey this is and I love being a mom!!!

  325. I am so addicted to your blog. You express,so beautifully, the emotions I have way deep down inside and just can’t put words to. I also have two little girls (5 and 4 months) and you inspire me. Thank you for sharing your life with us. :)

  326. I am bawling… in a couple of short weeks I will drop my baby off at school and I know it will be hard to “let go”. Not sure I’m ready, but I really appreciate your honesty. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  327. I was just like you when Jasey joined dance class. I was so scared to leave her and she was scared as well. Finally the teacher basically said the same thing…you need to drop her off and leave her. They promised to call me if she need anything. That hour was so long but she did great and continues to excel in her class. I really like dropping her off now; it gives me an hour to relax and have some “me” time. I know you can do it and Lainey is sooo strong and sooo smart (I can tell from all your stories) she will excel at ballet and do great!

  328. Bahamamama says:

    Kelle, I keep this quote taped to the drawer in my desk…hidden enough so only I know it’s there, but close enough by for me to read it every so often:
    “In the end, being a mom means falling utterly in love, yet knowing that one day soon not only will your babies be gone, they’ll leave you for others. And in fact, that is your role: to pay great attention while nudging them gently out of the nest.”

    imo, it doesn’t get any easier. My oldest is starting 1st grade in a few short weeks and will be riding the BUS. I cry every single time I think about it. In the meantime, I’m trying to give us a kick-ass summer and spend as many days at the beach as we can! Now you go on and soak up every minute you can with your little loves!

  329. Kelle…Your post really hit home with me today… Letting.go.is.hard. No doubt. I have a senior in high school and a preschooler and two in between. It seems my days are constantly baby steps of letting go: some on a grand scale (driving yourself to school) and some on a pony-tail scale: (sleeping in your big-girl bed).

    One of my favorite quotes was on my college graduation card from my parents: “If I could sit across the porch from God, I’d thank Him for lending me you.”

    You once again reminded me that our darlings are indeed on loan. For in a quick minute they will be living these incredible lives they were loved into. It’s a beautiful metamorphosis but for the one sitting on the sidelines, it is both breath-taking and soul-stirring.

    Thank you for your mindful, meditative observations. So often they crystallize for me something that has been swirling within.

    Oh, and you are super good at this but I just want to high five you for trusting your gut . That is the key to so very much. We know our babies best. :)

    Oh and you’ve completely shamed me into buying some brand new, gorgeous pink ballet shoes for my little. She was wearing her sister’s hand me downs but dang…that fresh pink, non-wrinkled leather is cute! ~Beth

  330. can i just say…this brought tears to my eyes. it made me remember these times with gracee. she too had spent years preparing for dance class..many hours twirling in her tutu. i was you at the first lesson (only much older..i think they thought is was her grammy dancing prancing around..HA..and probably not as graceful) at the second lesson (we were not even allowed to sit on the bench and watch)i stood at the window and watched on my tippy toes, ready to be her lady-in-shining-armor. after class gracee told me that she was so glad she saw me at that window,and ya know..i still stand on my tippy toes at that window..and i always will!! this year we are doing piano lessons as well..hmmm….hope they have a lower window because that tippy toe stuff in painful! ♥

  331. I don’t know if you’ll see this, but I did a double-take this morning when I saw this knitwear model on Ravelry – Lainey’s twin, or is your big girl branching out? :)


  332. WOW. That’s all I have to say. I found you through my friend Nina of http://www.sotheywillalwaysremember.blogspot.com
    She raves about what an amazing blogger you are. This is the first time I’ve stopped by and the first post I’ve read. I can totally see what Nina’s excitement is all about. Incredible photos, poignant honesty and humor, too! Doesn’t get much better than that. And I absolute love the words your friend offered to console you.

  333. Kelle! You made me cry again!
    I had these same feelings last March when I put my son in a “play”school to get him ready for Pre K. I’ll never forget it. Omg, I felt my heart tearing from my chest when I had to walk away from him and leave him there with……essentially, strangers. We keep them so close for so long, protect them, let them know we are always there and then all of a sudden, they wanted me to just…..leave. Leave him alone without ME. But you know what, he did great. And Lainey will too. She WILL soar. She’s an amazing little girl and she will be a beautiful and confident ballerina. It IS so hard to let go. Hugs to you Momma. You did great.

  334. Tears
    Smiles too
    You are the best
    Thank you

  335. {sings in Oprah voice}I lovelovelove this BLOOOG!! I discovered it right after Nella was born and all my friends were handing the link to each other, with puffy red eyes, saying “read dis. jus’ reedit. SNIFF. SO good” and it was. I had just found out I was pregnant after two years of infertility and a miscarriage, and it was right around that time when they are asking you about DS testing, along with everything else. I had always felt that the only reason to test would be to throw an extra book on the pile of pregnancy reading, if the old “increased liklihood” thing came up. After all- we are so psyched to enter into parenthood, and love is the reason, not the hopes of raising some mail-order-keeping-up-with-the-jones’ child. Adoption would have been fine, too, but the husband wanted to keep trying to see if we could have our own first. Anyway, I ramble. Your blog hit on everything I was feeling about becoming a parent and encountering unseen challenges along the way. The beautiful painful parts, all sharp and glittering.

    I took a couple months to go back to the beginning and read the whole thing. Thank goodness I found this before my first baby is born (due in Sept). I am really inspired by your writing. It has led to a whole new tone in my blog that my friends and family are loving. I am sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for your next one!

  336. While I enjoyed seeing pics of Lainey at ballet class, I’m kinda disappointed we didn’t get those shots of you twirling around. You built us up…then let us down. Although, I’m pretty sure the teacher would have had an aneurysm if someone *was* to take pictures of you dancing, based on what she said…. Ha! You just tell her that um, no, you won’t force her into ballet “even if she cries” and that you’re not seriously paying to see your daughter cry! Duh.

    Anyway, LOL…. great pics and descriptive, interesting writing–as usual! 😀

  337. I know what you mean!! Letting go is much harder than I expected. Especially when they beg with their beautiful souls for you to stay. I try to tell myself it will be good for them, but it is hard to really believe that at the time. One of those ‘easier said than done’ things in my opinion.

  338. Kelle, this was exactly what I needed today. Thank you so much! This weekend I have felt like I dropped the ball and wasn’t the mom I should be, and after reading your post I realized that it’s okay to feel that way. And it’s even better knowing I’m not alone and that being a parent is hard. Your writing is what my heart is saying and I’m just so grateful to feel a kindred connection with such an amazing woman. Thank you

  339. Kelle, this was exactly what I needed today. Thank you so much! This weekend I have felt like I dropped the ball and wasn’t the mom I should be, and after reading your post I realized that it’s okay to feel that way. And it’s even better knowing I’m not alone and that being a parent is hard. Your writing is what my heart is saying and I’m just so grateful to feel a kindred connection with such an amazing woman. Thank you

  340. NorwegianMama says:

    She´s the cutest little ballerina. I was almost spitting juice all over my keyboard at the Cut the cord, bitch-comment. Haha!!!

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