As she grew, we added her siblings one by one, and life was good. Oh, of course there were many moments of frustration, sadness, exhaustion and anxiety. But my over-arching emotion toward motherhood was the same: this was my calling.
And here I am, this week. In four short days, my husband and I will be delivering that sweet baby to her first year of college. I'm not quite sure how we got to this place so quickly. The years have flown by, and my heart hasn't really had time to catch up. But the time has come, whether my heart feels ready or not, and we must embark on this new adventure: parenting a young adult from afar.
I look at her, and I see the great things she is going to do, both in college and beyond. She is ready to spread her wings and be on her own, learning and growing and blossoming. She might be a little homesick and have some growing pains herself, but she is prepared to handle it all. She is mature and rooted in her faith, and she is going to do great things, I feel sure of it.
But remember my heart? It's having internal conflict all the day long. I want this for her (going away to college is absolutely the best choice for her), yet my heart just isn't quite ready at the same time. I'm simultaneously thrilled for her and aching for what will change. While she isn't leaving forever (to my great joy I realized that she'll be home 1/3 of the year!), Thursday marks a definite change in what we've known for 18 years and 5 months - our girl being with us in our home, sharing her everyday life with us. And that's a little hard to get used to.
So I'm praying for so many things: for her to flourish and succeed and have an amazing college experience; for her to stay safe and healthy; for her faith to deepen and grow; for her to meet new friends and have new adventures; for her to learn so many new things and grow even more in her excitement for teaching little ones; and finally, for all of us still here in our house - that we can adjust to our new normal with as much grace and peace as we can, knowing that while she isn't under our roof, she is still being held under God's wings.