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I love you right up to the moon and back...

Today my daughter started her senior year of high school. That means that in just a few short months she'll be done with this phase of her life and moving on toward a long college journey. For me, this brings on an onslaught of emotions. As I watched her leave, so grown up and sophisticated, I couldn't help but think about how far she'd come since I dropped her off at daycare 16 years ago, and she cried until she threw up. And then I cried until I threw up.

I think about the nights I'd lie in bed with her, stroking her back, wishing she'd fall asleep so I could go do whatever chore seemed so important at the time. Now it seems so far away, the hours I spent rocking her, her tiny hand entangled in my hair, gently twisting it. Wiping her tears when I'd come home from work, and snuggling her until her tiny chest stopped heaving with sobs. There wasn't even a shadow of insecurity in the young woman who left the house this morning. She was all new blazer and jeans and red lipstick confidence.

I think about all the imaginary games we played, and how I wished for them to be over so I could do whatever mundane task seemed so important at the time. I wish I could go back in time and enjoy and thoroughly appreciate them. I think of all the times I picked her up from my parents' house, and my dad would be lying on the couch with Chloe treating him. And I think in just the blink of an eye she'll be a real doctor, treating real patients. And my dad will surely be smiling down on her. How prophetic that he called her "my doctor" ten years ago.

So I'm crying, again, just like I do every year when my kids go to school. But this year it's different. This is my first year of lasts. Her last first day of school. Her last year cheering. Her last homecoming dress. Her last prom. I am gonna be a mess. I have always cried at her school plays and concerts. I cried at NHS induction. I cried when she got her senior pictures taken. She used to laugh at me, which usually made me laugh too. Now she sticks out her lip, strokes my back, and softly says, "Aw, Mommy..."

Most of the time--when I'm not crying--I look at her in amazement. Amazed that she is so strong and smart and driven and confident. Amazed that she is so kind and loving and compassionate and empathic. Amazed at the goals she sets and achieves over and over again. Amazed at the dreams she pursues and sees to fruition. Amazed that so much goodness is emodied in such a tiny creature. Amazed that God let ME be her mom. Sometimes I shake my head in wonder. If someone had told me eighteen years ago, when I got pregnant, unmarried, unemployed, unsure of so many things, that this beautiful child was what was coming, I would never have believed them. I almost don't believe it now.


  1. On "being there," you spoke my heart. I'm not even sure I realized it fully until we all went on the family vacation to DeSoto. When Morgan offered to show me her dance, I said, "Yes," and didn't have another thing to think about, as all my chores were hundreds of miles away. It is a state of mind, a matter of choice, but mercy, it's a challenge.


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