Outdoor school is here once again… only this time, for my Kenna girl.
She’s quiet, yet incredibly strong. She’s organized, flexible, and filled with kindness. She’s the one I’ve always described as Snow White – the one that wakes up filled with so much brightness and joy that, if she opened her windows and began to sing in the morning, the birds and squirrels and deer would swarm just to be near her pure sweetness.
She’s my tender one… my baby girl. And, right now as I write this, she’s on a bus and headed away from me for three nights with hundreds of other 6th graders.
We worked together last night to pack her bags. We went item by item down the list – if it was recommended, it was packed safely into the duffle.
Extra shoes? Check.
At least three pairs of pants? Check.
Towel and toiletries? Check.
Sleeping bag, pillow, flashlight? Check, check, check.
So when we woke up this morning to get her out the door, while I was sad she was leaving, I was confident I was sending her out as prepared as possible for the week ahead.
I stayed with her at school til it was time for her group to go. While I spoke excitement for her with my words and face, I think she could sense my heart was aching while I watched her inch to the edge of the nest. She giggled with friends and owned her space, but never overlooked I was still there. She’d turn every few minutes, to smile at me – her secret language of “Mom, I love you… don’t worry – I’ll be okay.” While I took dozens of photos, she indulged me. When I hugged and kissed her for the umpteenth time, she hugged and kissed me right back; and, after she sat down on the bus and I knocked on her window to wave and take just one more photo, she smiled big and blew me a kiss.
That’s my girl. Precious. Kind. Confident. L.O.V.E.
This is the business of parenthood, no? I must raise… and release. Raise… and release. Raise… and release. I must take the moments we have together and intentionally help my little ones ‘pack their bags’ with all the things I’ve been instructed, things like Truth, Wisdom, courtesy, kindness, humility, empathy. And then, at various times – ready, or not – I must step back, let them take the bags I helped them pack, and watch them fly with their own wings – wings, I can only pray, are unburdened and lifted by His grace.
I will miss her this week, but I know she’s written on the palm of His hand and He won’t overlook her for one second. I’m struggling with the distance we’ll have between us, but I trust He goes before her and will be her rear guard.