The other night I took my tired, overly done, self to the clothing store to get my self something to wear to a wedding this weekend.

I passed the children’s clothing section and noticed the great sale and that was all she wrote.  I started for Sarah, who made it through the winter with four pairs of pants.  I passed on the jeans since I have never found one single pair to fit her correctly.  She is short and stocky like me and I can never find jeans either.

I  laid shorts out on the floor, matched shirt after shirt, and lost myself in the fun of dressing my daughter in my mind.  Three outfits and a dress chosen, I started to look for Katie.

Where were the 4T that did not look like something a 12 month old might wear?  Where were the cute bohemian, flowery, summery garb that  had seen in the advertisement?  Was I in the wrong area?

And so I walked through the toddler section, my home for clothes for the last four and a half years, and continued to get frustrated that the 4T outfits had cupcakes and candy and teddy bears on them.

And then I turned the corner.

And was in little girls.

And there were the clothes I saw.

Size 4.  No T.

I hesitated.  Surely these were too big for my 4 1/2 year old?  After all, she in on the tiny side.  At least compared to the big, tall, 5 year olds in her class.  Surely, there was a 4T section with the same clothes?

But as I fingered the beautiful, interesting, stylish clothes, I knew I was in the right place.  That my first daughter was growing up, and in four short months would be one of those 5 year olds.

A tear fell.

I am not ready.  I can not let her go.  She is just a baby!

But, the reality is that she is not.  She starts kindergarten next year and her teacher’s say she is more than ready.  Good for her.  No one asked me if I was ready.

Knowing that I was being ridiculous, I wiped my tear, held closer my 3T selections as if they were Sarah herself, and immersed myself in size 4 clothing for my big girl.

I was done an hour later. Happy that my oldest would no longer be dressed like a baby, excited to see her in the new colors of tan and hunter greens, and browns and blacks.  Sparkles and peace signs accompanied the hearts and butterflies.

Resolved that she has to grow up.  No matter what.  Just as I had to wean her from breastfeeding, potty train her, and teach her to drink from a big girl cup, I have to let her drop the T.  And I will live through it and always have those memories to hold tight.

I left with a bag full of clothes for my two big girls.  I forgot all about my outfit for the wedding.

But just as I turned the corner to find new and exciting clothing, I had turned the corner of motherhood.

Because with that one tear, I had wiped away that T.

And I survived.