Saturday, August 22, 2015

How Long is Forever?

So we're about to look at another summer through the rear view mirror. I mean, I guess it's officially done when we have hit the last weekend before school starts. The season rolled in with thunderous fun filled travel and camps and a good bit of time floating around the pool. But in the past week we I sort of found myself looking longingly at the pretty little bags of fresh and fancy school supplies. It just seemed like time to break them open or at least deliver them to their waiting classrooms.

At long last the Meet the Teacher day arrived for us to head down the school, bustling bags in hand, ready to make our introduction. We were all pleased with the evening. The teachers seem great and their classrooms cheery and ready.

So there I was, having arrived at the pinnacle of summer's end, the supplies safely delivered, the girls happily reuniting in the halls with their dearest friends, and yet my heart felt surprisingly heavy. It's all going so very fast. I mean, I know it's terribly trite but once the years are measured by the school calendar, time starts to pass at warp speed. How in the free world am I sending these little infants off to the first and the fourth grade in just a few short days? It seems altogether impossible to believe. Does this mean I am not ready to return the little lovies into the capable care of the prepared and precious teachers in two short days? H to the no. They can still go back, but I will miss them more than I realized.

I think my heart was especially tender because Dirk and Emerson were set to leave this morning for Minnesota. A trip for just the two of them to attend a family wedding. As I was helping Emie to finish packing up her bag for the weekend, I realized I have never sent her off on a trip without me. Sure, I have taken a few trips alone with girlfriends or with Dirk alone where she and Ainsley have stayed behind with friends or family. But never, not one time, have I ever packed the little lamb off and launched her on her own. My heart's rate quickened and I felt a little catch in my throat. It's important to note that she was going away for just two nights. With Dirk. He is her father. He is more than capable of lovingly caring for her every need. And it's for three days. Goodness, what am I going to do when the lovie sprouts her wings and truly flies out of the nest and off to college without either one of us? Sweet baby Moses, just the thought puts a quiver in my knees.

This morning I woke her for the early bird flight and she was as tender as dew. It was 3:30am. As in the middle of the night. I crept into the room she shares with Ainsley and laid down in her bed.

I drew her long frame into my arms and swallowed hard. I still see her like this. A doughie darling napping in her bathing suit. But she's nearly as tall as her teacher this year. This photo must have been taken seven years ago, yet it's still one of my favorites.

I pulled her near like I did when she was a babe and she smelled of Trader Joe's body wash, shampoo, and love. So much love. I softly kissed her cheek and she didn't flutter so much as an eyelid. She's not awake, I thought. Going to have to nudge her a bit. But in a moment she rolled toward me and opened her ocean eyes. She looked straight at me and whispered, "That was such a great way to wake me up." As we made our way downstairs, she said, "I'm sorry, did I sleep too long?" It was 3:30am and my ten year old wanted to be sure she'd not stayed too long in her bed. What a gem.

She brushed her teeth and changed into her clothes and turned to hug me tight. "Shine your light," I whispered into her ear. "Take note of things that people do well or things about them that you like and be sure to tell them. People need to be encouraged and you're so good at it." With her arms snug around my waist she said into my chest "I know I'll have such a good time." I knew it was her way of telling me to let go. To unclench my gorilla death grip around her waist and let her get into the car and off to the airport without me. As I let go, she said, "I like it so much when you come but I'll be having such fun with daddy." Gracious, this girl reads the emotions of others like the morning news. She just knows what would bless a heart and says those things. I am besotted with this shiny girl. What a love.

So while I've released my lovely for a weekend with her dad, dear friends and relatives, and hardly off to never-never land, I am aware of how hard it is to watch these girls mature and grow up. It is the very thing I want--the fruit of my labor. The bountiful harvest for the daily work of tilling the soil of their hearts and minds. Still, even still, it stings more than I thought it would to let them go and shine their light for all to see. We are, after all, blessed to be a blessing. Dirk and I have been given this tremendous treasure in these girls. These unfathomable gifts, but they're not ours to keep. If what I said is true, that everyone needs encouragement, and we've got the hookup to some unconditional lovers and marvelous encouragers, we had sure as the sun better let them go and shine.

In the meantime, Ainsley is soaking up her favorite thing on the green earth: She created the dinner menu for us and yes, this happened.

How good are these? And yes, it's a hot dog in there. Even here in our world of Primal Paleo eating where meat is magnificent, "piggie unmentionables in a tube" probably cannot be found on any cavemen diet. But these are all beef and kosher so that must be something. I only buy those kind in the hopes that Jesus' chosen people know best about what should be considered "fit to eat." And a rabbi probably prayed over them or something, so you know, it's practically like going to church eating a few of these doggies. Yum!

Ainsley set up the Living Room for our Alice in Wonderland viewing and sleepover party.

You might note that she has laid out glow sticks for both of us. She wants this to be an all-nighter with her momma.  I cannot deny, through any looking glass I find, my life is so very, very rich in love.

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2 Comments so far - Add yours!

  1. So good Melinda! My favorite line "Take note of things that people do well or things about them that you like and be sure to tell them. People need to be encouraged and you're so good at it.

  2. First time for me reading your blog and I loved every beautiful word written��