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What’s round, can protect you from danger, yet put you in danger at the same time?

This quandary adorns my head as my husband and I boulder-hop, wearing more sweat than clothing, including my beloved hat.

“My brim is my friend,” I tell myself, as I nearly miss another foothold. I don’t want any more skin cancer, however, I don’t want to tumble down a mountain of 20150803_093042boulders.

We just dropped off our little boy—our youngest—at Kindergarten. His first day of new everything, my first step of letting go of my baby for the day. I can’t help but think of him as my brim keeps getting in the way. I could have kept him at home another year—I could home school my kids—they’d be protected from so many things that way…

But, from experience, I’ve learned that too much protection can cause a person to fall later on. I can’t keep them under my brim forever.

He was crying when we left. The teacher had to take him inside the classroom and we had to walk away so he could adjust to this new chapter.

Chapter One: The day Noah becomes a big boy.

A boy who will laugh and smile with kids who think boogars are funny too, coat various things with glue sticks, make friends, fight with friends…find the best ones to make memories with and maybe even stand by each other on their wedding days.

Do stuff without me, *sniff.*

When my hat keeps casting its shadow over my face, blocking the blue sky from smiling on me, I remind myself that my skin can’t take it. But I push it up a little bit so I can see what’s around me, because I’ve got to take a little risk in order to see where I’m going.

There it is—that glorious big picture.

The wide open sky, the rise and fall of the horizon, the breeze across my forehead. There’s an island of rocks—it was our goal, but the water level is still too high to rock-hop over to its bank. I guess it has a mama protecting it too.

We could have told her we were friendly, but I understand. Maybe she’ll let down her guard in autumn.

It’s been a week now, and usually my son comes home and tells me how awesome his day was, but then the morning comes to find him in tears again. But he keeps going, step after little step, thickening his skin and finding out he can do some things without mommy.

His teacher walked him to the car the other day with a mountain of praise. “He’s doing well. He’s the only one in class who doesn’t say ‘I can’t’.”

Good job, big boy.