Tonight a very vivid realization hit me. I don't have a little girl anymore. OK---I've known that for a long time, but it's different to admit it. Know something amazing? I like it! Shh...but don't tell her. I don't want to have to admit it to her, not yet. Let me hold off on that a little longer!
So, I don't necessarily enjoy the bad attitude that comes at times or any of those typical knocking heads moments, but I'm for the most part enjoying this season of life with her. I love the beautiful person she is and the HUGE heart she has. Granted, she has her moments that make me want to pull my hair out....but then again, don't we all?
You see, God entrusted me with a beautiful angel and told me I had to do the very best I could with her. I had to take the things that I missed in my own life and the things that I did have and cherished and somehow wrap them up and present them to her. Many times I didn't get it right and many, many more times in the future I will mess up again. There will be many times of heartbreak to come and times that I will wonder why God gave me an alien instead of an angel.
What I'm seeing right now is this amazingly headstrong, responsible young lady with a strong faith. Somewhere along the way God instilled in her a maturity WELL beyond her years and a heart that beats for Him. She's going to make mistakes along the way, but I have no doubt she will always find her way back.
Today we crossed a bridge. I didn't think about it at the time, but being the mom I am...I sure realized it after the fact. Today, I sent her out the door with someone I barely know to babysit her 3 children in a town 20 minutes away. I didn't question one second if she was capable. I didn't think twice about her being responsible enough. Up until today, she had only done childcare at church or in our home. Today, I sent her out the door with a list of "unknowns". I didn't have EACH and EVERY scenario covered. I didn't "mother hen" her. The proverbial apron strings were cut and I'm OK. Early this summer she went on a mission trip to Cincinnati with no contact for the week and then at the end of summer she went to camp with very little contact (and knowing that she was learning more dangerous gymnastics skills!). Never once did I question whether or not she was capable of handling the time away.
You see, I hear so often about how I've sheltered her too much or not let her make her own decisions. I hear how she just doesn't know about the real world or could never survive on her own. I have been accused of home schooling just because I can't "let go". WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! Today proves the exact opposite. Because she is NOT sheltered and has learned responsibility, ethics, and has a TRUE love of others, she was able to walk out our door confident that she could handle it. Because of the amount of time I've spent with her, I had the confidence to let her go. That's the beauty of TRULY knowing your child.
She didn't babysit for a family that we spend time with on a regular basis that knows her personally. She was asked purely on recommendation based on her reputation. Other moms that have seen her interaction at church and in other settings HAVE noticed. We've told her over and over that her day would come when people would begin to appreciate her for who she is and I'm proud of her for finally beginning to see those moments. I told her to take that feeling and hold on to it for all she is worth! It confirms to me that the people that give us the hardest time about our "lifestyle", truly don't know us and are judging us based on preconceived notions. That even goes for family members. If you spend ANY REAL time with Adriana, you will see that she is NOT a sheltered child that doesn't know how to think for herself. Truth is, she probably has a stronger, more deeply founded faith and makes people uncomfortable with their own selves. I know she can at times even do that to me!!!!
So tonight, I get a glimpse of what really letting go feels like. It does hurt a little to know that my little princess is gone (LONG gone are the days of smocked dresses and matching hair bows!), but at the same time it opens up a whole entire new world of possibilities. You see, before long I will be looking at a friend instead of just a daughter. For now, I have to keep on the parenting hat for a little longer (since I firmly believe that the biggest mistakes parents are making today is getting caught up in being their friend instead of the PARENT!)...but I know the day of friendship is just around the corner! Of course, I'll always be her mom, but I'm looking forward to the rest! **Now when Kevin reads this, he will agree with me on most points...except He would add that her growing up DOES NOT include EVER dating!**