Photo by: PNA

And I Held on Tight...

by Genny Heikka
Photo by: PNA

I stood there in my daughter’s fifth-grade classroom at open house night, looking at all the things she’s made throughout the year…

the life-sized human body, the history timelines, the intricate drawings of plant and animal cells…

and it hit me all over again how much older she’s getting.

Middle school, I thought, almost not believing it.

She’ll be in middle school next year.

Another parent who hadn’t seen my daughter in a while came up to us. “She’s gotten so tall,” she said.

I nodded. “I know.”

We passed other kids on the way out and I thought the same thing… they were all taller than I remembered. More mature, too.

It’s here, I realized.

She’s growing up.

It’s here.

We walked across the playground to leave the school. I watched my daughter as she ran ahead, and I thought…

I hope she knows, as she gets older, that she can come to me with anything.

My mind sped to the teenage years that are just around the corner…

I hope she stands up to peer pressure. And I hope she knows that, even when she makes mistakes—because we all do—I’ll still love her.

I thought about high school, and college, and the dreams my daughter has, wanting more than anything for her to achieve those dreams, wanting her to enjoy the journey along the way.

We left the playground and headed through the park toward our house. All around us, other families walked home too. Kids rode their bikes and played. Laughter filled the air.

“Come on, Mommy,” my daughter called, motioning for me to hurry. I jogged to catch up, still thinking…

Even if we hit bumps in the road as she gets older, I hope I can be patient. And fair.

I hope we always have a good relationship.

I hope…

And that’s when I felt something…

her hand—not tiny anymore like it used to be, but still small, still young—slipping into mine.

I looked at her and smiled.

She smiled back, unaware of the thoughts racing through my mind.

We crossed the street like that,

holding hands,

and when we got to the other side, she pulled me toward the sidewalk and squeezed my fingers.

I squeezed back

and I held on tight…

Genny Heikka is an author, blogger, book reviewer and coffee lover. Stop by her blog, My Cup 2 Yours and share a cup!

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I just flashed forward and yet backward all at the same time reading this.

I saw my mom, watching me as I walked into my high school for the first time not knowing her thoughts that now as a mom I know were running through her head.

Flashing forward to next year when my oldest daughter will go to Kindergarden, how my heart aches just thinking about it.

Thank you for putting your hope and fear down for others to read.


That was beautiful. I noticed the same thing about my oldest son the other day - my soon-to-be-3rd grader was no longer a boy, but a big kid. I hope he'll still grab my hand when he gets older. Thank you for sharing.


There is a sad and timeless beauty to this that we all share. My daughter will enter the 5th grade this fall, and I have thought these very things as well. The joy, the tears and the uncertain future before us.
Your sentiments were beautifully expressed and much appreciated.

That post was a great capture of a universal mom moment or should I say moments that we have throughout their growing up. I remember looking at my first baby, 7 months old, curled up in her crib sleeping and feeling this pang that made my eyes swell with tears. "She'll never be this small again," I thought. It's so bittersweet...

Oh man, what a great post! I'm all ferklempt and teary eyed. Concise and perfectly (emotionally) written.

Genny, How kind of you to share this beautiful moment with all of us. It is a poignant reminder that our children and our relatonships with them are so precious.

Thanks for sharing, everyone. Kristi, you captured it exactly... bittersweet!

So nicely put. My son is entering 7th grade. I remember all those same rush of emotions last summer before he entered 6th. It is such a HUGE transition year and he is so very different now. Even though he's not yet 13, he seems more like a teenager than a little boy now. I feel the same way. I want to hold on tight!!

My oldest daughter will be in 8th grade this school year but it will be a year of endings and preparing for high school. Where has the time gone? As I worry about high school and all the new things that are ahead of us I wonder if my own mother had the same worries and hopes and fears. I think it is important for our children to know what we wish for them and how our world revolves around them...

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If you enjoyed reading this and have a minute, look at this youtube video. I guarantee you will be shedding a tear or two by the end of it. I go back and look at it every chance I get.

Thank you for sharing this. I have been struggling with the same mixture of emotions and thoughts as our son enters middle school this fall. I am not sure where the time has gone. I also know that the next few years can be some of the most difficult emotionally and socially. I pray that I can be the mother he needs me to be during this time as I hold tight knowing I have to eventually let go!

I have three children; all grown men now for some captured the bittersweet moment we moms all go through. I think back and realize that time goes by so fast especially as we get older....I am now a grandma (ma-ma) to a beautiful little girl and have been her caregiver for the last 4 1/2 yrs (taking care of her for 11 hrs a day while mom and dad (my son) are at work each day)...

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This is beautiful and leaves me tearful. My oldest son starts middle school in the fall and I have so many conflicting emotions about it. But when he hugs me and tells me he loves me, he is still my little boy. Thank you for your lovely post.

I think we all have these moments, when we're proud and sad and hopeful and terrified, all at the same time. Thanks for putting it so well into words!

Beautifully written. Even though my children are all grown up, I too have these same thoughts, although they are for my grandchildren. I have fought back tears at just the thought of my oldest grandson entering the 7th grade. What uncertainties lie ahead for him; will he continue to confide in us like he does now? I too hope to hold on tight for as long as I can.

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