Young children pass through many milestones that are bitter sweet. My three year old son started preschool this January. He started in the middle of the school year in a three day half day church program.

The morning he walked into that class began a new era in my life. I went from being a stay-at-home mom who was always with her children to a mom that had nine hours a week FREE. Free from feeding, entertaining or cleaning after any children for a brief amount of time. It sounds liberating but has created problems I didn’t know existed.

I am faced with the task of prioritizing my time. It would be easy to shop the entire time or visit with friends or make appointments (I haven’t had a mammogram in years). I have plenty to do. But what are the most urgent and important? What should I do first and what should I let slide?

I must also determine my next stage in life. Three mornings a week will morph into five full days when all the kids are in school. How do I want to live those empty days? What do I want to pursue in that next stage of life? I feel blessed to be given the option of choosing. With that option comes the obligation to be wise.

Finally, I must determine if this is the right path for my son. Because his birthday is in August, only two weeks before the public school cut-off date, he is on the cusp for classes. Just because he can be in a class does not necessarily mean that he will thrive in a class. I must depend heavily on his teachers to help guide this decision.

The saying “when one door closes, another one opens” is oh so true in parenting. What doors have been difficult for you to close? What doors have you been avoiding?

“The future has several names. For the weak, it is the impossible. For the fainthearted, it is the unknown. For the thoughtful and valiant, it is the ideal.” – Victor Hugo