Forty Days

Throughout the scriptures, the idea of forty days refers to the time which separates two distinct periods. Macy will be moving out of our home in forty days. I find myself feeling a little bit anxious. It is not from a lack of confidence in her ability to responsibly live on her own that I feel this way. The truth is there are moments I believe Macy to be far more ready to face the world than anyone I know. My anxiety stems from the moments of transition. I have learned a lot from the first go around of moving a child out of their childhood. My heart knows the days ahead are filled with the beautiful birth of a new relationship with a person I cherish. To move from the everyday responsibility of parenting to being the parent of an adult child is harvesting the yield from the years of planting. It is a great thing. But I also have the muscle memory of the great sadness I felt in the days after the drop off. I anticipate those days with a bit of trepidation, because of the knowing. The hollow loneliness of not hearing that voice in the next room is comforted only by the joy of knowing she is growing into the person God always intended her to be. I know for her to do that growing, I need to be out of the way.

I am reminded, once again, in this season of transition of the mother who shared with me several years ago the idea that she was lamenting the “last times” with her children. The last time to rock them to sleep. The last time they wanted to be carried. She suggested she wish she would have known that those last times would be the finales, so she would have been more present in them.  Today, in a car ride with Macy, my mind wanted to turn to the last time thinking. Would this be the last little out of town excursion we would have before she left? I know from experience, I will be tempted to soak in the idea of last times, but I am going to resist with all my might. I want to instead focus on the firsts I will enjoy in the coming days.

I can’t help but look back on all the firsts I have enjoyed with this precious girl. She walked for the first time at only nine months. Her determination just as much a part of her as her freckles. She hit those milestones of the first years of her life early. With each first, I was filled with the greatest joy. The abundant happiness of celebrating her first steps are as clear to me now as they were on the day we witnessed them. Her petite frame and angelic face focused on her goals. I now get to relive that same joy. She still has a petite frame. Her angelic face is now sculpted into classic beauty. The same focus deep in her eyes is set on new goals. It is joy to encourage her to take these first steps. I pray I have within me the heart that will clap with giddy elation as she steps into this new time period, just like the one beating in me on the living room floor eighteen years ago.  I also hope she will not notice my arms outstretched waiting to catch her if she stumbles. She didn’t at nine months.

For six thousand, six hundred, ninety-six days, I have loved watching the firsts of her life. To have VIP access to her accomplishments is among my greatest gifts. I know for the rest of my life I will enjoy being witness, if from a distance, the firsts of the life she will now build for herself.  I can’t wait to see what she will do.

In the fall of 2001, as she slowly let go of the fingers of my outstretched hand, I had no fear. Her father was right there with his own outstretched hands to receive her and keep her safe. My faith requires me to let her go with the same security, as the Father who gave her to me has promised to hold her in His hands.

I can’t promise I will do this gracefully. I guarantee you there has been and will be many tears along the way. But, as I anticipate the joy of the firsts yet to happen, I am at ease with the anxiety of the lasts. It is my hope she will look back on this childhood fondly. I pray she will be filled with grace in the places we failed her. I pray she will know we always tried our best to love and raise her well. But I hope she, too, anticipates the days ahead. I believe they are the best to come. I can’t wait to see her soar.

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