A Tough Goodbye and Bittersweet Hello

This week we are saying goodbye to the one who has been in Arya’s life since she was only weeks old. Arya’s aunt, nanny, godmother, and best friend is moving back home to Minnesota. This transition is not going to be easy for anyone, but we are incredibly blessed for the time we had together and excited for the new chapter we are all starting in life.

As Kayla leaves for Minnesota, Arya starts Montessori school where she is getting to be around toddlers her age for the first time ever.

Our Time With Kayla

I am not sure how we got so lucky to have someone like Kayla in our lives. From the moment I met her, I knew we would be close. We just had not had the opportunity until this last year. Kayla has not only been a blessing to Arya, but a blessing to me and has turned into one of my best friends.

During my pregnancy, Kayla was the first person to feel Arya kick (sorry Ryan). In that moment we both looked at each other and our jaws dropped. It was the first of many bonding moments between the Kayla, Arya, and me. A bond which has grown exponentially ever since.

During Ryan’s deployment, Kayla was the one who spent every day with me and Arya. I genuinely feel like I would not have made it through deployment without her. Whenever I was crying, overwhelmed with motherhood or missing my husband, Kayla was always there to comfort me. She knew exactly what to say. And even though she is not married with a baby while her husband was deployed, I still felt she understood how I was feeling. She is the most loving, compassionate, understanding person I have ever met.

Kayla has experienced all of Arya’s milestones with me. I can’t count the number of times over the last 16 months, Arya did something new and Kayla and I look at each other in awe. We joke that she is Arya’s second mom; Although it has come to be the truth and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The way Arya looks at Kayla shows the unconditional love she has for her auntie. 8 months together in Minnesota was a blessing we did not want to end. When the topic of Kayla coming out to California for a few months to nanny Arya came up, I jumped at the opportunity. Literally.

Having Kayla come to California put me at ease as I transitioned back to work. I was lucky enough to be with Arya for her entire first year. Leaving her was hard, but knowing she was home with someone who loved her as much as me made my heart hurt slightly less.

There is no better feeling, especially as a first-time mom, than leaving your baby in the hands of the one you trust most with your baby. I will never be able to express the true amount of gratitude and appreciation for the mark Kayla has left in our hearts. Our lives will forever be better because of her. Through hours of watching our favorite TV shows and forcing her to watch scary movies with me, my love for her continues to grow. Meaningful conversations about life and her future goals and plans has made me so excited for what lies ahead. Saying goodbye is difficult, but I am honored for the time I had.

The Transition To Montessori School

Arya is going from her godmother nannying her, to a daycare full of new kids and teachers. She is going from one on one attention to being 1 of 4 kids per teacher. But, she is also getting socialization with other children and being immersed in a learning environment. Arya is ready. Her love for learning and interaction with others shines through in all that she does. She is independent and wants to explore the world around her. As her mother, I am torn between wanting to let her spread her wings and wanting to keep her safe.

We chose a Montessori School because, like any parent, we want the best for our daughter. Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. Children in Montessori classrooms make creative choices in their learning. The classroom and the highly trained teacher offer age-appropriate activities to help guide the process. Children work in groups and individually to discover and explore knowledge of the world and to develop their maximum potential. We want Arya’s love for learning to grow as she does, and, for us, a Montessori school is the best choice.

Day one at school was emotional for me because I was not sure what to expect or how she would react. When we arrived, she was eager to play with the toys and meet the other toddlers. She did not cry or seem to notice I left, which is probably a good thing. I spent the entire workday worrying about how she was doing. I checked my phone more than I should have, waiting for an update and pictures. Finally, the school sent me picture of her first day playing with the other kids. I teared up because she is growing up so fast and I am not sure how I already have a toddler.

When it was finally an acceptable time to leave work and pick her up, I was expecting the worst. Instead, they told me she did extremely well for her first day and slept for an hour at nap time (I was expecting 20 minutes at best). Arya was great with the younger babies too and very gentle. The teacher also mentioned how much Arya loved to dance when the music was on. I laughed picturing her doing her little dance by bending her knees slightly and bouncing. She really must have had a good day. I was reassured it only gets easier.

It is only our first week, but it is crazy that we are starting another new chapter of life. Arya is growing up and it is the most exciting and emotional ride that I wouldn’t change for the world. I love being a mom. I love being her mom. I love watching her grow and learn and become her own self. These are the moments I wish I could freeze time. So Instead I will soak up every single second of time I have with my daughter because these moments don’t last forever.

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