It's what you have to do, you know.
It's what you have to do the week you send your very grown up all of a sudden little girl back to school for her second year, and she doesn't need you to walk her in.
It's what you have to do the day you met with an estate planning attorney (because your fear of not doing it has finally gotten stronger than your overwhelming sadness about having to do it) and made arrangements for your sister and brother-in-law to raise her if you die when she still needs you.
You have to go home and look at all of her baby pictures and countless hours of precious videos and you have to sit with your chin in your hands and stare at her as shallow salty pools fill the lip of your lower eyelids and threaten time and time again to spill over.
You have to just look at her. And look some more. Longer and deeper. And you have to laugh and cry and feel your heart swelling with joy, and with pride, and with missing that baby, and with loving every molecule of who she's been and who she is and who she's becoming. You have to want to tweak that nose and kiss those cheeks and hear "Mama" in that perfect chipmunk voice and hold that tiny pair of hands between yours just one more time.
You have to call her over to you and have her look at herself so you can watch today's face pour over the faces of yesterday, and last year, and four years ago. And you have to curl your arm around her and rest your chin on her head and breathe her in as she laughs at herself.
You have to hold on for dear life.