I write this from the road. The too-long (or perhaps not-long-enough) road to leaving my daughter at college.
Now, for a couple of hours this morning, I can sit and think while my husband drives and my daughter snoozes with her ear buds in. All the scurrying, the packing, the talking, the planning–it’s all led to this day.
These past weeks of checking items off the College To-Do List have been like a microcosm of all our years of parenting. Some things Mom and Dad did for her, some things we helped her do, some things she had to do for herself.
I have watched her packing (or finding something to do besides packing) and seen in her–all at once–my newborn, my child, my young adult. How is that possible? Maybe that kind of seeing is a parent’s super power.
Mom Becomes Invisible
My other super power ought to be invisibility. Parenting, I have learned lately, is an exercise in easing myself out of my children’s lives as they take charge of them. I have also been imperfectly developing the super power of silence. I have long been good at talking; it’s harder to learn to listen, harder still to hold my tongue.
The super power I didn’t want to develop, but had to, was letting go. Letting my children try ever bigger things so they can fly higher . . . even though they also risk falling farther. This super power requires stocking ample supplies of both Band Aids and balloons, ready for sympathizing or celebrating. Today I may be cheering from the stands, tomorrow dispensing Kleenex on the sofa.
Here I am, launching my last child, and I feel like I’m just figuring all this out.
But that’s not what matters right now.
Is She Ready?
What matters is whether my daughter is ready for her adventure.
Well . . .
Honestly, I only got nervous about that when I forgot what I was like at her age. When I remembered, I chuckled and packed a few extra Band Aids and some more balloons into her luggage. And prepared myself to sleep with my phone by my bed for those Mom-can-we-talk calls.
She’ll do fine. I’m sure of it.
Partly because I know she is smart and she aims to live right.
Mostly because I know Whose she is.
That is the real reason I’ve worked at becoming invisible—so she can see past me to her heavenly Father. Leaning on His unseen arms is the only way she can find out just how strong He is.
Stepping Out of the Way
Hours have passed. The boxes are unpacked. My daughter is settled in, armed with a room key, ID card, textbooks, and a handful of new acquaintances. We have prayed, hugged, and looked long at each other, trying to understand that this is good-bye for now.
It is evening. My husband and I are driving home. Leaving our daughter to make her own way at college.
But we haven’t left her there alone. There in that sea of students, she is still walking hand-in-hand with the Father who knew her before I ever saw her. The Creator who designed her for such a time as this.
So I’m only crying because I miss her. I will probably miss her more every time I pass her empty bedroom.
Yet I’m excited for her because I know she’s ready.
I’ve left her in good hands.