The Time Has Come... WAY too Fast
A friend of mine told me four years ago to brace myself because high school goes by "really fast." I blew it off, thinking there was no way four years could rush by quickly. I couldn't have been more wrong. Seeing this picture hurts me in a very deep part of my soul.
It's not that I don't want my daughter to grow up. I really am incredibly excited to see where life and God lead her. I know there are really big things in store for this young lady. I am so incredibly proud of her. If God had said to me, "Nea, choose any kid in the whole world to be yours, the one you spend the better part of your life raising, guiding, instructing, nurturing, loving," I would have chosen the one I have. Emily is a really good girl; she's smart (graduating with a 4.0 GPA!), funny, kind, compassionate and has a desire to follow Christ's lead. She's even contemplating going into the ministry and working with youth. Her teachers tell me she's one of their all-time favorite students, and parents have told me for years how polite and well-mannered she is. Seriously... this is a really good kid! And she will be a remarkable adult.
But that's the thing... she just turned 18. She's moving out of the house. I will not know where she is all the time, who she's spending time with, when she's on the road driving her car, what her homework situation is, what time she gets home each night. That bothers me, not because I don't trust her, but because my ability to protect her will soon become incredibly limited. She is outgrowing my sphere of influence and walking out of my arms of protection. Leaving the nest. And that HURTS.
While she begins learning how to be an adult - getting ready to start her first job, paying her first bills, registering for her classes, picking her major - I begin learning how to rely on God to take care of her. I already pray for her safety and protection (several times a day). Now comes the part where I have to replace action with faith. Faith in God to lead her in the right direction, and faith in the guidance and instruction I've given her all these years. It's like taking your heart out of your chest, putting it in a car and waving goodbye. She will take it with her everywhere she goes.
I love this group of kids. These are Emily's best friends. She got teary-eyed yesterday telling me how much she's going to miss seeing them every day. In the midst of "senioritis," it finally hit home for her how much things are about to change. Even though a few of them will go to LA Tech with Emily, she won't see them all the time. As high school ends, new lives begin, with each of them following paths that will take them to different places. They will all meet new people. They will all take different classes. They will move to different places, marry different people, do different things.
But they will take with them the wonderful memories of spending time with each other, playing pranks on their favorite teachers, working on projects together. Most of all they'll remember laughing. Their memories will bring smiles. And for that I am eternally grateful.