06/25/2014 04:46 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

That Moment You Realize She's a Big Girl

I packed my daughter's first peanut butter and jelly sandwich today.

Whole wheat lightly toasted, crusts cut, peanut butter and apricot jam spread thinly, carefully as I eyed the clock in the early hours.

I had five minutes to pack her lunch and mine, pour coffee, distract her from Sesame Street long enough to get a goodbye kiss and a "See you later, aggigator."

She sat on the couch in a lavender T-shirt and pink shorts, bangs catching her lashes as she blinked at the TV. I've known for weeks now she needs a first hair cut, but something about trimming those fine, soft waves makes me break a little inside.

So does packing the sandwich.

Because sandwiches are for big girls. Because my recently-2-year-old sits in a big girl chair, has big girl conversations, does big girl things.

She runs around our house with spindly legs growing, slim frame jumping, doing unintended yoga and acrobat moves. She's a blur of giggles, cries, and questions, of silliness and extrospection.

She has her mama's high cheek bones, her daddy's expressions. She speaks in paragraphs, tells me details about her day, which part was her favorite. She asks me if I remember things. Has an extensive imagination.

I thought about this as I pressed her sandwich flat, cut it into strips, arranged it in Tupperware. Despite the simplicity of it all, it was a rather significant moment.

Because moms make sandwiches. Because my mom made sandwiches. Because I'm carrying on the sandwich-making legacy.

Because now I'm a big girl, too.

I'm no longer the new mama. I've got this.

And a little piece of me breaks inside.

In memory of my mom, and many careful lunches packed.