This sweet girl just turned 18.
I honestly cannot account for the passing of that much time with her already. Suddenly it felt like too much time had slipped away without being marked. So, on a spontaneous get-away to the coast, the pieces of my family that could be present took turns walking along the shoreline with this daughter of mine. Her Sister, Aunt, Grandpa, Grandma, Dad and I. Each of us taking a space of sand with her… telling her what they loved about her, saw in her, dreamed for her– and then passing her off to the next waiting family member who would walk with her and do the same.
It wasn’t comfortable. We all had to step into a vulnerable place where feelings reside and acknowledge that a change was occurring. That the little girl had somehow grown up before our eyes and a new thing was about to begin. But I am so very glad we did. I can’t think about it, type it or talk about it without a lump clogging my throat and tears stinging my eyes, but I am grateful we took the time and the risk to speak into her life. Because I know there will come a day when something her Grandpa said to her will be the sure-thing she stands upon during a hard time. Or that heart her sister drew in the sand that said “I love Lauren” will pop into her memory like a big hug from home. Her Dad’s heartfelt words will make her smile. Her Grandma’s encouragement will make her brave. Each person’s love a sure stepping stone in her path just when she is looking for the way…
Graduation will be here much too soon. Then summer will slip by and college will start. And our family of 5 will be down to 3. We’ve done this before with our son. Things change and we adjust, and our children go and do what we’ve been training them to do all along– live independent lives– but not without regrets and sadness and wishing for bits of the past. Things just won’t be the same again. Sure we will have texts and visits and calls, and great family moments, but we won’t have the endless days that go on forever when your kids are small. We won’t have the family vacations that just happened because we all had the same schedule. We will have to be intentional. And we will appreciate each other a little more.
I have the tendency to look back and wish I had done things differently. This special memory goes in the column of things I could never regret. We celebrated family, a precious girl and a bright future. We marked a moment that none of us will forget and started a tradition. I hope I’ll be brave to do more of that. I hope you are encouraged to be brave too!