We just took our youngest child, our only daughter, on her first college tour.
But this is not my first rodeo. I went through this process with my son a couple of years ago. I know what to expect.
Except apparently I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t expect things to feel so profoundly different this time. I didn’t expect to be standing here wondering how we got to this point so quickly. How this girl of mine, in my mind so recently a toddler, could be poised on the precipice of this new life so far away from home. So far away from me.
Standing on the brick walkway in the middle of this idyllic college campus I suddenly found myself struggling to take in the cold air. My vision became distorted, like when the air blurs as it rises from the steaming sidewalk on a hot summer day.
And then I remembered I have felt this way before. I was in the backseat of a car, my parents were up front, and I was probably around five or six years old. We were driving slowly down the main strip in my hometown, and I was looking out the window. As we passed a familiar store I read the sign out front announcing an upcoming sale. And suddenly my lungs were going through the motions of breathing, expanding and contracting, but no air was getting in. The words, so brilliantly clear just seconds before, became fuzzy. I had READ something for the first time! I immediately knew nothing would ever be the same again. The world felt forever changed to me. The possibilities now seemed endless. Yet no one even noticed the seismic shift that had just permanently altered my reality. My parents were still looking straight ahead, oblivious to the enormity of this moment.
On that college campus the enormity of the moment was not lost on me. This time, however, I was not overcome imagining the world that awaited ME. What literally took my breath away was thinking about all that awaits HER. All those endless possibilities are hers now to imagine.
Letting go of her is terrifying. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
But she is ready to change the world. And the world needs more of her goodness. More of her light.
And I can’t wait to watch her shine.