Six months after her birth I slipped a swimsuit over my postpartum body and slid into the pool, even though I could not swim. Her tiny, cool, soft arms encircled my neck and I swam anyway.

Just after her fifth birthday, my fists clenched and hidden in the sleeves of my sweater, I smiled sweetly at her as she sat perched upon the dentist’s stool watching me as I ‘bravely’ let the doctor assess me.

My voice trembling, I stepped up onto the makeshift stage, unfolded my speech, looked out into the crowd and caught the eyes of my already thirteen year old daughter watching me proudly, egging my courage forward with her smile.

Then just like that the summers of lemonade stands and girls’ weekends with my favorite girl in the world ended. A new stage had begun. I was surprised to find that I was grieving.

A new passage had veered so swiftly that my heart hadn’t had the time to adjust. As the years carried on and my little girl grew into her own mind, I saw her courage in the ways she maneuvered within her friendships. I witnessed her self assured articulations. I marveled at her agility and incredible sense of self-worth. I admired her strength of character nestled within her gentle heart.

I thought back to al of the obstacles I had conquered, all of the challenges I didn’t back down from as I tried to model for her the woman she one day could be.

Then just like that a new season turned again. This season, a season of witnessing. Standing in admiration as my favorite little girl I the world becomes the young woman SHE knows she can be.

Mamas, I see you as you move through each season of change. Yours is the most important job. Leading your curious little girls to be powerful women and your favorite little boys to be gentlemen is such hard work.

Know you are doing SO good even on the hardest days.

From my heart to yours,

In love and lemonade.