On the morning of the first day of kindergarten, I got up early and wrote my little girl a letter. In it I said that I loved her, that I was so proud of her and that our lives would never be the same after that day. Up to that point, the kids and I had spent most every single day of their lives together. I knew every morsel they put into their mouths, every song heard on the radio and each friend they had. I was mourning the loss of our time together as a whole unit. I knew we would never return to what we had been, and I was right.
My sunny little girl went on to school that day, skipping through those big doors without even looking back. She was ready, even if I wasn’t. I don’t think I got anything accomplished that whole week, just feeling the shift, the loss. What if she needs me? What if something happens? What if….
That was 13 years ago. I have watched that sunny girl turn into a beautiful woman who continues to skip through big doors without the thought of looking back. There are many words I can use to describe my girl, but my favorite one is brave. I recently heard a quote, ‘bravery can only come when you have something to be brave about’*. She has walked through a few fires all by herself, with her friends, and with her God. And she has done it with her head held high and her eyes fixed ahead of her. I hope to someday be as brave as she is.
So, this is the morning of her last day of high school. I’m not sure why I feel surprised and unprepared for this fact; I’ve known it was coming ever since that first fall morning, many years ago. The word bittersweet has taken on a new depth I didn’t know before. You see, this is my child who sees the whole word and its injustices and wants to do something about them. This is my child who can’t stay close to her Momma and be true to her heart and calling at the same time. Sometimes I really hate that we cultivated this in her, but I know her bravery will serve her well.
I could write my girl another letter on this last day, telling her that I love her, that I’m so very proud of her and that our lives will never be the same again after this day, but instead I think I will make her pancakes for breakfast and watch as she skips through another door. I love you, Baby Girl!
*Katherine Center from “What You Know Now”