Ten days from now will mark a milestone in our lives- our first high school graduate. Part of me, the exhausted part of me, is looking forward to the hooplah being behind us. But the part of me sitting in our quiet house, staring out the window, and trying to figure out how eighteen years of my life just escaped, is trying desperately to hang on to each minute with her.
My life as her mom is not over, yet I can’t seem to quiet the feeling of loss. I believe that any time we come to the end of something or someone, grief is natural. I remember when I stopped breast feeding her, stopped home schooling her, watched her drive herself to school. I grieved it all. My role was changing as she took steps of independence. Now we are watching her take this next, huge step.
I am battling doubt and regret.
The days that I lost it and yelled at her, the times I chose my to-do list over playing with her, the opportunities I had to listen but lectured instead – I want to take those moments back and do them over.
I am hanging onto hope.
I hope she remembers the love more than the lectures. I hope she saw love in my eyes more than disappointment. I hope, more than anything, she knows that I will be here for her when she needs me. I hope that she and I will be good friends one day.
I wonder if she heard me.
Did she hear me when I told her she was beautiful and capable? Did she believe me when I told her that there is nothing she can do to make me love her less? Did she hear me all of the times that I told her God has a beautiful plan for her life?
She is leaving soon and I am going to miss her so deeply. She was the first heartbeat I carried inside of me, the first little voice to call me “Mama”. She was the first one to make my heart worry like it never had before, and the first to make it swell with pride. She is a part of me that I don’t want to let go of, but she needs me to believe in her and send her off in confidence.
She still needs me. It just looks different.
So, what will I do with all of this? I will sit on the porch swing and get lost in sweet memories and cry. I will sort through photographs for her graduation party and reminisce. And cry. I will watch her walk across the stage in cap and gown, and I will hold my husbands hand and a tissue in the other. We will cheer wildly and then take a deep breath. When she boards a plane this fall for a nine-month mission trip, I will wait until she can’t see me, and then I will fall apart.
That’s what mamas do.
Then, this mama will go before the Father, my beautiful girl’s creator and redeemer and I will choose to entrust her to Him. Over and over again, every time that worry creeps in and doubt threatens my peace and joy. I will pray for her that one day she is blessed with a daughter to love. I will pray that she does so with the wisdom and grace that only Jesus can give.