08/21/2012 04:49 pm ET Updated Oct 21, 2012

A Mama's Self-Analysis as Her Firstborn Heads to Kindergarten

My oldest child, Ella, will be heading to kindergarten in two weeks... and I find myself experiencing a swirl of mixed emotions, including angst, reflection, nostalgia, excitement, sadness, pride and regret. I know without a doubt that she's completely ready, but I am not so sure that I am. It seems as though it was only months ago that I gazed down at her perfect little wrinkled newborn face, filled with an aching love unlike anything I'd experienced to that point. And in a few short weeks, I will be walking that precious little girl to kindergarten, where she will spend all day away from home, five days a week. Big sigh.

An era is coming to a close with my sweet Ella. As this pre-school phase of mothering her is coming to an end, I find myself asking questions:

• Have I been the most present, fun, and nurturing mom I possibly could?
• Did I make the very most of her pre-school days?
• Did I spend enough time just loving her and having fun with her?

I've been looking back and wondering if maybe I worked too much... could I have done more with her? I am wishing I had sat down and had more tea parties, participated in her dinosaur games and attended more "mommy and me" classes with her. I am not one for regrets, but I just can't stop reflecting on all the incredibly sweet moments and I am wondering if I have savored and embraced them as much as I possibly could. Being a mom is my most significant and influential role and I realize now, more than I ever have, that these moments of raising our little ones truly are fleeting.

I want to make sure I am embracing every single moment by being the most fun, nurturing, involved mom I can be, and I've been giving myself a mental "progress report" of sorts for this first phase in the life of Ella. Overall, I have fared pretty well, but there is always room for improvement. Thankfully, I have two more little ones to savor the pre-school years with, and I know this experience will prompt me to pay attention even more.

In only 13 short years, I will most likely experience similar emotions when we take our firstborn off to college (gasp!). Until that time comes, I intend to parent her in a way that allows me to be confident to my core that I was always present with her. I will enjoy every single moment of nurturing and guiding her into becoming a happy, confident and amazing woman!

But for now, I have two weeks. Two weeks until she is no longer my little preschooler. Two weeks to embrace summer and seize every opportunity to make her sit on my lap and snuggle with me. Two weeks before her world will be expanded and she will be influenced by more than just her father and me.

I have to go now... Ella wants me to play dinosaurs, and I just can't miss out!

Are you a mom of a little one about to go into kindergarten?
How are you feeling about it?
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