About eighteen and a half years ago, I was in the hospital looking forward to the birth of my first baby.
Now I'm looking forward to the graduation of that first baby. This weekend, that little girl that turned me into a mommy, will pass from the world of childhood and home school to full-fledged, mostly-on-her-own, young adulthood.
This week has been full of cards and gifts arriving via the mail, lots of cooking, talking about the future, buying lots of needed stuff, visits from friends and relatives, and packing up needed supplies.
Just like eighteen and a half years ago.
Except this time, instead of preparing to say "hello", we're preparing to say "good bye".
Yeah, I know. She'll always be our daughter. And she'll come home on holidays and weekends from time to time, but for all intents and purposes, she's starting a new chapter apart from us.
Sure, part of us will always be with her. She'll take with her the values, wisdom, knowledge, and skills we've worked to instill over her growing up years. She'll also take, more importantly, love and faith.
But when she leaves for Africa this week, she'll always be returning just for visits. She'll have her own home, her own life, and eventually her own family.
Eighteen and a half years ago, I couldn't wait to see her sweet little baby face and get to know her.
Now I am already missing her and can't wait to see her sweet, young woman's face when she returns from Africa and then get to know the adult she will become over a life's worth of visits, phone calls, emails, and skype sessions.
Bye-bye, Baby. Who knew the years would pass so fast?