Since she was born, I have known in the back of my mind this day was coming, and in a small way, I looked forward to it. I knew it meant she was growing up, moving on, using her gifts. But when it came time to actually load her things into the car and drive her to college, all of those mature thoughts flew out of my mind, and all I could think of was this: My baby girl was moving away, and she was never again going to live in our house as our child.
True, she might come back for a holiday break or for the summer, but it was always (God willing) going to be temporary. (Editorial comment time: Although we would certainly welcome her back at any time either during or after her college experience, the Point of Spending this Money and Heartache is that she will figure out what to do with her life and then do it in a way that brings her gainful employment. So, although my heart is trying to make my head nod an emphatic and perpetual welcome, we would prefer that soon after her college years are through, she will be able to support herself in her own home.)
Right, so I started thinking about all of the following things that were now going to be different:
1. When we go to church, it will only be the four of us.
2. When we sit down for dinner, we will only set four places at the table.
3. When I wake up the kids up in the morning, I will only be waking the boys.
4. When I kiss them goodnight, I will only be kissing the boys.
5. When I sit down for some quiet reading time, she will not choose that precise moment to begin to play the piano and sing loudly (
Hey wait: is that really such a bad thing...?) (Yes! Yes, you selfish mother, it is a bad thing. You will miss it.)
6. And when and when and when and when...
Friday, we loaded up her things and drove her off to college. It's only 45 minutes away, not that far really, and it's Concordia, the school we both attended (and where we met and fell in love), so it's comforting to know that she is in a familiar place. And even more comforting: the faculty and staff we have met are warm and welcoming. Their love for Christ and their passion for their work gleam in their eyes and their smiles. They speak of helping our baby girl recognize her calling and use her gifts for God's kingdom. We know that she will learn much this year about who she is and what she can become.
And so, although we will miss her dearly, feeling minute by minute the subtle twinges of this strange sort of amputation we have elected to endure, we know that she will be happy in her new home. She smiled all morning as we met new people and set up her dorm room and attended Matriculation Chapel. And although she looked a little tearful when we left (and so did I, of course), I feel confident her smile reappeared soon after as she looked around herself and realized she could find and make a home for herself here, too.