broken heartstrings (or apron strings)

I’m dressed. Sort of. No  eye makeup and some sunglasses for the road to the airport , but I have on a cute outfit to feel a little lighter today. In an hour, I will drop off my precious middle child (she’s only 24) to go across the big ocean to school. You know what’s strange? She’s done this before, and it isn’t any easier. I know she can do it. The question is, can I? Letting go is usually more incremental than this. Today, I have to release her to God’s care again and know she’s going to be fine. She just seems so fragile to me. So vulnerable.  She looks like she did that first day of kindergarten to me again. What is there about the zillion goodbyes we must say that still sting so poignantly? I’ll see her at Christmas, so she’s actually been away longer before, but this time, it seems it is her career path, of a more permanent nature, that might scoop her away to a different land to live. I mentally review how many times I’ve told her she’s an eighth generation Texan (did I overemphasize it to the point  she believes somebody in this crazy family ought to get up and leave?) She knows how important family is. She’s ready to launch. After all, it really should be one of the top ten or so goals of a parent. I’ve noticed lately it isn’t as much. (Google “helicopter parenting”) But it was my goal– to see her successfully go forward in life with a fervent regard for God and others, making life more about others than herself, defining success as being a contributing, compassionate person in this world, not ever by worldly measures of money or toys or things. She is all of this and so much more. I still cry. Today it’s about my own selfishness, wanting her still to be close, still to be mine. But then, I know she never was.  Godspeed, Lauren. Travel mercies. Vaya con Dios. We love you so.
Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills —
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip —
He who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, He who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you —
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm —
He will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forever more.

UPDATE: It was the best dollar I ever spent to go in with Lauren to check in at the airport. I had a sobering perspective check as I saw a mother and family saying goodbye to their young daughter–in army fatigues.


13 thoughts on “broken heartstrings (or apron strings)

  1. Annette,
    As I read your words – I understand completely their meaning. I am reading a book to send on to Kelly so that she will understand how much we love her and want to see those wings unfurl and for her to finally fly.
    from the book As You Leave Home, byt Jerry B. Jenkins….
    “The greatest product of our love is you. You could enjoy no finer blessing than to have God produce children from your pure love relationship. You’ll make mistakes with them. Your shortcomings will be magnified in them. You’ll suffer anxiety and worry because of them. But they will also be the source of your greatest joy and hope.
    You’ll wonder at the majesty of the miracle when they burst from the womb, and you’ll wonder if the sleepless nights will ever end. You’ll nod politely when people tell you that tomorrow they’ll be gone.
    And suddenly you’ll turn around one day and realize that the years have indeed slipped by faster than any well-intentioned adviser could have predicted. The baby became a toddler, a preschooler, a kindergart ner, a sixth-grader, and adolescent, a teenager. Seemingly instantaneously despite all your efforts to hold on, to savor, to enjoy, the child has become a young adult for only the briefest flash. …
    Ready or not, here you come. I may not want to believe your grown-up body contains the independent mind of a fully-functioning adult, but I know better than to stand in your way and be the reason the world doesn’t find out.
    I realize we won’t become strangers. As I fight the feeling that one more embrace will be our last ever – and thus I would never let go – I wish you God’s speed. I wish you the best. I wish you the knowledge that you go with the deepest love a parent can have for a child. You will have no greater cheerleader in the game of life.”

  2. My mom always says that same thing to me when I leave- “you look like you are five right now”. Being a mom now myself, I can say I am trying to hang on to everyday and treasure every moment because even my 16 month old looks big to me now. He was holding a cup and drinking out of straw yesterday and even that much independence was enough to make me tear up!

    Praying for you and Lauren as you adjust to her physical absence.

  3. I just wanted to encourage you that I was that daughter no so long ago. She will look back later and so appreciate your willingness to support her in this endeavor. It encourage her in the way she will one day raise her own children (if that’s what God has in store for her).

    I saw at BSF this week how Moses’ parents did all they could physically to care for Moses as they prepared the basket and then trusted God with the outcome as they placed him in the waters of the Nile River. This is your Nile. Embrace this opportunity.

    I’m sure I’ve not told you anything you don’t already know. So feel free to just roll your eyes.

    Will pray for you as I remember how difficult it was for my parents to let me go.


  4. I know this is difficult. This is the point in our childrens lives that we Moms dread. One way I have kept myself up is to remember what it was like for me at that age and how much excitement I was feeling for the new adventures awaiting me.

    Lauren has a mother & father who love her enough to have taught her the truth. She has your prayers and the prayers of all your family and friends enveloping her wherever she goes. And . . we are all praying for YOU and your sweet mommy’s heart 🙂

    Love to you,

  5. Well, this is heartbreaking, but this is life, isn’t it. It’s such a double-edged sword because we don’t want them to be developmentally delayed and yet it is gut-wrenching to let go. I am realizing more and more that my kids are individuals just like everyone else on this planet, and that I had a job to do in the first parts of their lives, and now it’s time to let them be grown-up individuals. I know that I would not want my mom to still “mother” me at 45. Of course, we’re always “Mom,” and we’ll always care, but I’m learning … slowly… to loosen the grip. My prayers are with you, sweet friend.

  6. I just can’t imagine…I had a hard time letting my 12 yr old go for 24 hours this past weekend!!!!

    You know I’m memorizing this verse for Bible study! LOVE IT.

    Praying for you. 🙂

  7. Oh my ,the picture of someone saying good bye to thier daughter in uniform brought tears to my eyes. wasn’t God good to let you see that to help you put things into perspective. You are blessed and you bless me with your writing. Your children are blessed to have you as thier mother.
    Hope you sleep well tonight….Mary Lou

  8. Oh, girl, I have prayed for you this day. (and for her as well.) I guess we always wonder if this one is the big goodbye…the one where they do walk the path that leads them away from their childhood home. Wasn’t it just a moment ago that she fit in the crook of my arm? I’ll still be praying…


  9. Okay, the song got me. I did okay until I heard the song. I cant imagine what it is like. I’ll be there soon (Maybe–I think he’s a bit too comfortable right now). Lots of love,

  10. She’ll be walking in the truth, Annette! You’ve planted so many seeds along the way! Lauren is doing what she has dreamed of doing. This mom will be praying for you, Mike and Lauren today. She’s in good Hands! I can’t wait to hear what He reveals to her while she’s gone!
    Angie xoxo

  11. I am sitting here teary eyed for you. And I must say 8th generation Texan wow…I am only a 4th gen Texan and someone told me I should be impressed with that, I thought why, the impressive part is I am a Texan…ha ha ha

    I always get chills when I see kids in uniform at the airport…

    I am so thankful our help comes from the Lord!

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