“It’s about a girl who is on the cusp of becoming someone.. A girl who may not know what she wants right now, and she may not know who she is right now, but who deserves the chance to find out.” –Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper
“Mom, do you think you’re gonna make it through it this time without crying?” Paisley asks me. “No,” I tell her. I don’t even try to keep it in anymore. There is no use. She’s talking about the movie, Toy Story 3. The one where Andy grows up and leaves Woody and Buzz Lightyear behind to go to college. I’ve seen this movie a thousand times, and when the kids were little, it didn’t bother me one bit. However, now that Paisley is graduating in a few weeks, I just can’t keep it together. I mean, its a little ridiculous. It’s not like my eyes get watery and a tiny tear goes down my cheek. It’s the full-fledged “ugly” cry where I can’t catch my breath and it leaves my eyes swollen for 30 minutes afterwards. Every time I watch it, I don’t see Andy in that car driving away, I see my little girl. Ouch, stings a little bit.
But, it’s here. Paisley turned 18 years old about a month ago, and no matter how hard I try to stop time, it just doesn’t listen. I’m now a parent of a grown up. I’m still trying to figure out how she keeps getting older, but I stay the same age (yes, I realize I’m living in denial here, but allow me just this one thing). I look at her, and I feel like I’m looking at a walking miracle. Not only did she survive my parenting, she actually thrived and is a well adjusted…for the most part anyway. And, I have to say, that feels like a real accomplishment.
However, with her turning the big 1-8, she is now making all of these life long decisions. You know, the ones she will look back on when she’s my age and wonder what was she thinking?? Those kinds of decisions about college, where she’s going to live and, (gulp) tattoos. It totally scares me to death! She told me the other day that, “this whole adult-ing thing is super hard.” Little does she know that watching her “adult” is a lot harder than her actually doing it.
I’m learning that this has so much more to do with me than her. Paisley is doing exactly what she should be doing. She’s growing up, learning how to make her own choices and live by her own convictions. Me, well, I’m feeling all kinds of insecurities. I’m thinking did I tell her how loved she is enough? And, did I teach her how to change a tire?? Is she ready for all of this? I get it; I’m all over the place.
It makes me think about the beginning of her little life. It wasn’t easy for either of us. We both learned how bad life could get in a second. We understood the depth of sins consequences and what it felt like to be left behind. We were brokenhearted together.
However, what was probably meant for our destruction, God allowed to bond us in ways that I never thought possible. We walked through it hand and hand. Looking to the Lord to guide our steps because we couldn’t even see the path in front of us. We prayed together and clung to the fact that our God is good. It made us persevere. This is our story.
So, is she ready? Oh yes, she is ready. The real question is, “Am I ready?”
Am I ready to share my child with the world? This compassionate and headstrong miracle of a person who is complex in so many ways, but so simple in others. Am I ready to be Buzz and Woody and watch her drive away in her car?
The thing is, it doesn’t matter if I’m ready or not. She is. And, to hold her back would be like clipping a bird’s wings. Parenting has always been about letting go and trusting. We do it when they are taking their first steps, or riding a bike without training wheels. They fall, but they try again. Eventually, they get it and their off looking over their shoulder saying, “Mom, watch me!”
Now that she’s older, it doesn’t change. I’ve got to let go, trust her and trust that God has her. He has a perfect plan for her life. He has been preparing her for this since she was born. Although she’s not looking over her shoulder to see if I’m watching anymore, I will be. There will never be a greater honor in my life than being her momma. Fly, my baby girl. I’m watching.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10