this morning i walked up stairs and into my daughters room leisurely for the last time. tomorrow, i'll be driving her from montana to california, moving her down there for this next season of her life. i've been telling friends and family..."oh no, i'm fine. it'll hit me once i have to actually leave her in california". but i was wrong... as i stepped into her empty closet, with all of the white hangers neatly hanging without clothes on them, i lost it. at that moment it became quite clear. our reality is about to drastically change. life, as we've known it for 18 years, will no longer be the same.
obviously, i'm not the first to experience this dramatic shift in parenthood. but in the thick of it, it sure feels like it. to spend the majority of your waking hours for years on end caring for your children, only to wake up one day and have them heading out on their own is all at once numbing and shocking. simultaneously causing an inability to move or breathe because you can't believe you won't get to see them, feed them, wash their clothes, ride horses, sing or watch movies with them everyday AND a sense of panic because of the realization that there are inevitably some massive missing pieces in their life lesson handbook you thought you worked so hard to help them develop!
i'm sitting in my bedroom at this moment listening to my mother playing the piano downstairs. she does this... she sits down at the piano and just plays. and it's miraculous. it's the music of the divine. as she battles confusion and memory loss, her fingers continue to find the right notes and her brain connects the dots and the songs she's always known seem to play themselves. and i can't help but recall my own journey from the nest. my parents have both told me their stories of letting me go as i went off to college, and the pain of missing me. it always surprised me because i was a bit of a difficult teen. i'm sure there was a sense of relief mingled with the fear and pain. but here i sit, having gotten real good at goodbyes...as i've had to say more than my share of them to my parents since they moved to Detroit and i, staying in CA, was married 25 years ago... saying goodbye to them again this morning, as they leave montana and head back to washington. the difference today is of course that i will soon learn the flip side of that good bye. i've always been the daughter in this scenario, but, as i drive my own daughter to her new residence in Orange County, i'll be the mother saying see you later. i mean, the weight of this. i'll say goodbye to my own mom differently today.
and so, earlier this morning, as i peeked into my Isabellas empty closet, i caught a glimpse of this imaginary image of her with wings. massive, but unfurled, wings. that room is too small for her. she's not struggling or fighting against the space, but she's aware of the fact that she doesn't fit there any more... at least not if she wants to unfurl those wings. and of course, she does. and i don't want to keep her in a small confined space if it means doing so will require the clipping of her wings. i want her to learn to fly... soar... and that means i'll have to let her go.
this is a part of parenthood that is absolutely inevitable. and it's hard, and it hurts. and it's good. having been through it once, with our son getting married two years ago, i have a sense already of the emotional days to come. but i also have a clear view of the growth to come. the strengthening of friendship, the beauty of renewed relationship with my husband... hello. who are you? oh yeah, my best friend slash partner i married a long time ago before we had 2 children that dominated our entire lives.... and the beautiful trust that will develop and flourish in the heart of our daughter as she steps out in faith, running hard after a God she knows and loves.
our Izzi Ray's new album releases in just over a month. the songs on it bring me to my knees. the words are humble and bold. i'm breathless with anticipation as i dream big dreams with her. as we watch her follow those dreams, allowing God to direct her steps.