I used to hear that word and not really know what it truly meant, until I had my daughter. She was my first child. Suddenly, I could almost taste the word. Every moment of her sweet life has been a true pleasure to be a part of, but it keeps changing and that’s the part that is bittersweet. While I am so proud of every step forward she makes, I am also torn that I know it’s a process to stand without me.

That was not something that I was prepared for. No one told me how painful this part of parenting would be. Even when people would tell me I should hang on to those moments because they were fleeting, I did not truly understand.

Now, I know. I feel like in the blink of an eye, my baby has turned into a young woman. I still remember looking at her and wondering what she would look and be like, as a young woman. Suddenly it’s here and she’s even more wonderful than my imagination.

Remembering her first steps make me cry. Carrying her was hard, but I was so happy to do it because it meant she was still my baby.

The first time we got out of the car and she walked into a store, while holding my hand, is forever etched into my mind. That tiny little hand in mine, we were walking now, side-by-side.

The day she pushed me away, her first day at kindergarten was hard. I wanted to stay, and she pushed me out the door. The whole while, it was bittersweet.

Every step she takes to grow and pull away from me is both a joy and a stab in the heart.

She will be launching soon to go to college (this was written two years ago) and I know once again, the stabbing pain will be there but also the sweetness of knowing that she is strong and ready.

Happy 20th birthday to my wonderful, strong, beautiful, creative and amazing daughter, Sophia Palma. I am blessed for each and every bittersweet moment.

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