Well, it happened. I became one of those parents who said “it seems like yesterday she was just a baby”. I thought that only came from old people, but today, those words left my lips. The words left my lips as tears left my eyes. My baby girl had her first day of high school.
We have spent weeks shopping for the right clothes, the perfect purse, and the coolest backpack. She has spent weeks anticipating this exciting day, as I spent those same weeks dreading it. High school means she is growing up. High school just sounds – well, grown.
I remember when I was in high school. I remember feeling so grown up, so with it, so all together, and so smart. I remember feeling like I knew all there was to know, and that life was just a bowl of cherries waiting to be eaten. Now I look at my baby girl, who has grown up to be a beautiful young lady with a heart of gold, but I still see a little girl. It is hard to accept that she is growing up – especially when just last week she convinced me to buy her a new colorbook and a 24 pack of playdough in great awesome colors! Im getting mixed signals here!
We arrived at the school this morning fifteen minutes earlier than expected, and her friends were not there yet…. so we sat in the parking lot waiting for them…. cursed would be the day that she would walk in alone! As I sat there, watching her call her friends, text her youth pastor, look around at the all the kids walking through the parking lot, and checking her hair in the mirror – I prayed.
I prayed for God to guide her not only through this day, but through the next four years. I prayed for God to protect her until she was able to make good decisions on her own. I prayed for God to keep her safe from harm. I prayed for her to be able to stay strong in her faith, even when all odds are against her. I prayed for the devil to stay far away from her, and for God to put an army of angels around her to shield her from temptations, peer pressure and people who will not have her best interest at heart.
As the time came for her to go inside the school, she suffered through a hug and a kiss from mom, and jumped excitedly out of the car. A smile covered her beautiful face, but I knew that anxiousness, nervousness, fears, excitement and insecurities were raging inside her heart. So I prayed for God to give her a peace to help her get through the day, and He did.
I realized that I cant keep her in my little bubble anymore, even though I would like to. I have to let her live, but for a while I will still have the awesome privilege and responsibility of holding the reigns. For a little while longer, she will still need my hugs, even when she says she doesnt want them. She will still need my love, even when I say no to her weekend plans. She will still need my advice, even though she will think she knows more than me. She will still need my shoulder, when her heart is broken. She still needs her mom, just in a different way.
As I watched her walk into the building, as tall as me, long hair, trendy outfit, all dolled up for her first day of school – fond memories came flooding back. For not that long ago, I had watched her. I watched her walk into her first day of class in her little blue jean skirt, with a purple butterfly on it and a frilly, purple shirt to match. I watched her bend down to carefully tie her shiny new white tennis shoes. I watched her toss her golden curls back and bat her big blue eyes with beaming confidence, as she put away her new crayons and settled into her tiny desk. I watched her wipe away a tiny tear as she waved bye to mom and dad.
But today, I was the one wiping away a tear – but it was a tear of happiness. A tear of joy that God has blessed me with this precious girl, and given me the incredible joy of raising her. A tear of joy for what an amazing person she has become.
My job as a parent continues, but just in a different season now. My job as a parent consists of more than taking care of her needs, but taking of her heart and her soul. I can now not only watch her grow, but watch her grow in Christ. I can watch her not only try to fit in her with friends, but watch her learn where she fits into the kingdom of God. I can watch her find her way, and pray that along the way, she will hold hands with her heavenly father…………and if Im lucky, maybe even me.