When Saying Goodbye Makes Your Arms Ache

Our oldest daughter got on a plane this afternoon. She is returning to the second half of her first semester as a freshman at a college several hours away. Friends have told me it will get easier as time goes by. I am sure they are right. However, today felt as fresh and as painful as the day we left her at her dorm back in August.

She is content in the college she has chosen. We did due dilligence researching numerous colleges and visiting several campuses. More importantly we sought God's will and had many people praying for wisdom and discernment (James 1:5) that we would find the best place for her to spend the next 4 years. God answered our prayers and we are at peace knowing she is in the right place.

Our daughter was ready for college. Both academically and socially. Turns out her mama was not quite as ready for her to go. I probably need to stop here and give you a little background. I am a child of the 80s who was super focused on doing whatever it took to have a big, successful career. If I got married I was never having kids and if I had kids I was never going to be a stay-at-home mom.

God, however, had different plans for my life. I got married, was blessed with 2 amazing daughters and choose a career path that allowed me to work from home so I could be home with our girls. Changing the path I had set out for myself and deciding to have children was a very difficult, scary thing for me. 

I remember various well-meaning women along the way telling me to enjoy each moment, to not wish for the next stage, that they would be grown up and gone before I knew it. Accurate advise but hard to take or understand when you have a toddler on your leg, a baby at your breast and you just need sleep.

Turns out those well-meaning women were, of course, right. Those first 18 years passed in the blink of an eye and my daughter has grown up and gone before I knew it. My biggest worry as she left was not any of the typical ones but rather would she get enough hugs? Which brings us back to my aching arms. The two best hugs that I have ever shared with my first born was the day she was born and the first time we saw each other after a 7 week separation at college. My arms no longer ached as I held my daughter tight.

One of our goals as parents is to prepare our children for independence.  Which means an opening of our arms and a releasing. Now if my arms would only quit aching!