This has been the summer of kids going away. Drew was away for camp at the end of June. Davis, this entire week for camp as well and tomorrow I put my 16-year-old on a bus bound for the airport and a plane that will not only take her out of the country; it will take her away from home for the very first time.
I can feel my heart breaking.
The logical part of my brain says, “let them go. Let them grow!” But my heart feels like there is something terribly wrong. I imagine this week will be the longest week ever. After the longest week ever following June’s longest week ever.
So fast they grow.
I hope she comes back with bright eyes. I think sometimes she thinks she going to a South American vacation; forgetting she is there to serve. She says she doesn’t but most of her excitement is thinking about the crystal blue waters and hotel night. I did see glimpses of her realizing what the trip was when she talked about her “job” there. She tried to play off her excitement doing the “dance moves” at the Kids’ Camp they’ll be running, like it was lame. I could see though, she was excited to do for those little kids and teach them the songs and moves she grew up loving. I could see her tiny 9-year-old face looking at the stage at her own kids’ camp, wanting to be the cool kids teaching the little kids all about God.
I keep going over her packing list. Over and over. Making sure her clothes are sprayed and worrying if she will be too hot or too cold or her braces will break and she will be in discomfort. I give her advice about thing like staying close to her group and as insane as it sounds, making friends with a boy to stay close with. I tell her to hand over whatever a thief wants and to make sure not to lose her passport or her money. “Stay off your phone and breathe it in”, I say knowing that what I really want is her to text me every minute of every day. She cant and even if she could, I am not sure she would. I know she’ll miss us but I fully expect she’ll be too busy living to worry about updating us. As it should be when you’re 16 and leaving the country for the first time.
I hope she comes home with a full heart. Before the teen years set in, she was the smiliest, bubbliest, caring-est kid but like most girls in the 7th grade, she got the smile kicked out of her with the general cattiness that is middle school. Her dad and I reminisce about those days a lot. The teen years have greatly changed how she relates to people. I partially blame my relationship issues with her “friend troubles”. That smiley, friend to everyone girl is in there and hope stepping outside the harshness of high school will help her revisit that girl. I hope she comes home remember how good and kind and wonderful she is.
I keep thinking in the back of my head, “why in the hell did I agree to this?” Because they grow up and you have to let go I guess? Because I want her to live life full of “I did it” and not full of “I wish I had”. I let her go, I want her to go, because I want her to do all the things. But I won’t lie, I’ve never felt more sad and afraid in my life and my turbulent relationship with faith makes it hard for me to just trust that whatever happens is in her plan. I’ve been up nights worrying about the what ifs. And hoping and praying she doesn’t become one.
All this will be over before we know it. She’ll be home sharing photos of one of the coolest things she’ll ever experience. I can’t wait to hear about it… and I can hardly let her go.
So pray for us both this week. For her safety, for her growth and for her poor mama’s breaking heart.