But I also know that right now, at this stage of parenting, this little word took on big meaning for us. It showed that we could teach our kids about being mindful and thoughtful and communicating well. That we can lead them by example and create routines that they may (hopefully) keep with them for years to come.

There's no "crisis" term for this stage that we can fall back on. There is no one really paying attention to our needs during this transition because we've checked off all the boxes we were supposed to along the way so we must be just fine, right? We have the baby, the house, the job, the travel budget...the whatever. But maybe we need more.

And my heart sunk. The whole scene looked so sad to me, so disheartening. How he could be so detached, how she could look so alone, how a young girl was in the middle of it, not knowing any better.

The other day, one of the teachers was standing with a young boy who was looking around in a bit of a panic. His eyes searched the parking lot nervously, his hands were fidgeting with his backpack and his mouth was turned down ever so slightly in a frown that he kept trying to control, to no avail.

My 10-year-old daughter is going away on her first school trip next weekend…without me. It’s a one-night, two-day group trip up to Sacramento and San Francisco that involves a plane ride, an overnight stay in a hotel and two very busy days of historical outings and highlights.Without me.

I simply HAD to be there for those pivotal baby years. I could always go back to a full-time job or pursue that passion project or make that move up the "traditional" corporate ladder later...when they were in school, when they wouldn't need me as much, later. Well, now it's later.

Let me preface this by saying it's not a post about religion...my father taught me not to talk about that and politics at the dinner table. It's a post about parenting.

She still needs us. Of course she still needs us. But not just for the next milestones or for the goals of tomorrow or the promises of the future. She needs us for yesterday as well. 

I started to walk away from his idling car, half of my heart still back at home, leaving soft kisses on those warm little cheeks. The other half of it wandering thousands of miles ahead, strolling the city streets with wide eyes and a mind ready for a much-needed dose of inspiration and wonder.