My Little Girls Are All Grown Up

It’s going to happen. Everyone thinks it will finally come down, it’ll finally snow.

Oh, I hope my #1 daughter’s university cancels classes. Because at the end of her busy break, I just need a break. I need one more day with her. One more day to hold her close and never let go. One more day to put the phone down, put the TV remote down. One more day to focus on my true loves.

“Mommy …!” she shouts, running to me.

Lo and behold, her university canceled classes. I jump for joy and clap my hands. I get one more day with her, with absolutely nothing demanding of us.

DSC_0442 (3)And after a little so-called dusting of snow, or ice, commences–beautiful, pure change over the horizon–#2 brings me her writing assignment, asking me to look at it. Taking the treasured pages in my hands, I read:

Ever since I was little, I always dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. I even wanted to be an animal myself for years, because I thought they were so cool.

I laugh out loud. She goes on to explain how she had wanted to be a vet, but seeing an animal surgery made her weak, nauseated, pale. A change of plans. She had to sit down, in another area. The vet’s cat came over and loved on her. The doctor gave her a chance to rest, regain her composure, and she returned to the surgery room. But at the sight of surgery, she continues to say–

I started slumping down the wall I was leaning against.

I returned to the chair with the cat.

I laugh again. Yes, my daughter wrote those words. The words that would begin her very first college English paper.

Did you get that? Her first college paper. My baby. Because while I was wishing for one more day with my #1, I had no idea that two days later I’d step foot out without #2. Both my babies are in college. Both. #2 hasn’t even seen the end of her senior year yet. I kick the ground. I know this isn’t anything new for most, but as a home-school mom, I’d anticipated a few more months with my #2 before she started college. Like next fall. But the door flew wide open, and somehow we tumbled right in.

Hugs and “mmmmm … smack.” I watch them head out the garage door. They’re weighed down with full backpacks. Their first day together without me. Because the first two days, I trailed along. I did. I had lunch with them and everything. It was glorious. But that’s it. No more. I’ve got to grow up, too.

Shivering, I slump against my car, leaving my imprint in the dust and watching them get situated in the car.

DSC_0447 (3)Words from yesteryear peek over my shoulder–

“Why does she pucker her lips like that?” he asked. “Monkey kisses.” He laughed.

“I don’t know,” I said.

Scan_Pic0024 (3)I turned to my daughter. “Goodnight, baby. Give me kisses.” I leaned in. I puckered. She puckered. Big puckers. “mmmmm … smack!”

Realization dawned and laughter tumbled out of me, causing me to collapse onto the bed beside her. It’s me. All me. I taught her that. I taught her the big pucker. The cutest monkey kisses.

Oh my goodness. The things I’ve taught them. The things I haven’t. Have I taught them enough? Have I left the right impressions on their lives, on their hearts? Will they be okay? Will I be okay?

The car inches forward, not waiting for the answer. All routine for #1. And now routine for #2. Could you just wait till I figure out the answer? Till I figure out this whole thing? The car stops, and they wave and blow kisses. The car can’t proceed without kisses. The sweetest monkey kind. I return it all, with all my heart and some. Onto the hand and thrown across the air, like my grandmother taught me. To #1 and now #2. I catch mine and they catch theirs. We prolong the waves and kisses for just a little longer, ensuring we see each other. Not wanting to miss a single thing. Like we could.

The car accelerates down the driveway, leaves kicking up behind it, and proceeds down our Texas county road. When they are out of sight, I push the button and shut the garage–the full weight bearing down and crashing to the ground–as a chapter in our lives unexpectedly ends and another beautifully begins.

I go sit with the cats.

DSC_0451 (3)


What chapters are ending or beginning in your life? May I pray for you? 

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14 thoughts on “My Little Girls Are All Grown Up

    1. Andrew, you are always on my heart. Barbara is, too. I will continue praying. Because I’m sure not ready either. And I’m praying you’ll live a long, long time. But I can only imagine how weary you are of hurting. I want you to feel good again. I want healing for you. So much love to you and Barbara. ❤

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    1. Lara, I’d love to do a photo book. With both girls in college a few days a week, I might have a little more time to work on something like that. I’m looking at a spring giveaway (hope, hope), and I’m making a few cards with my pictures on them to go into the giveaway. A book is a sweet idea. I might try to add that. Again, thank you so much for such sweet, kind words. ❤

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  1. Beautiful, dear Shelli. I love those hats–those smiles–you’re all wearing. Change happens so fast our mama hearts quicken to the beat of the new song our children dance to. Wow–so fast.
    Yes, change is in the air and my two left feet can’t keep up with it. “In quietness and trust is (my) strength,” Isaiah 30:15, because I’m too dizzy to dance just yet. xo
    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

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  2. Ahhhh, Shelli. There may be things you didn’t teach them, but you taught them the. most beautiful lessons….of love, the necessity of authentic relationship, of kindness. And so much more. I’m not too far behind you in the journey of letting go. My oldest is a freshman this year. The changes coming to him in the next few years will change us all, I’m certain. I’m not in a hurry for them. But I hope to flow with them as they come. Although, I admit, so far it’s more me being pulled to embrace them rather than me throwing wide my arms to those changes. 🙂

    LOVED your beautiful post, my friend.

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    1. Thank you, Jeanne. I know … it doesn’t seem so bad when it’s little by little change. When it happens before you expect it to … wait a minute. 🙂 I went to campus with them for two days, and though I’ve been there before many times, I just fell in love with the place more. I feel so safe there, and it’s just fun. Maybe because both my girls are there, and it’s a small campus, too. ❤ I'm so thankful we have years to mold through the process … but sometimes it still feels like a shock to my system. 🙂

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  3. Jane Pontone

    Shelli ….such a special bond you have with your beautiful girls x
    The foundation that holds everything together is a mother’s love who holds her precious daughters close but also hands out wings.

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  4. Di Keller

    What beautiful words, Shelli! I can’t believe that they are both in college! I remember them as itty bitty babies! I well remember the tears as each one of mine took off in different directions. The time went too fast! But, they are strong individuals and doing well. I treasure the memories we made. I look forward to the visits. And now the grand babies come to visit! Your daughters will do well in life because you have raised them well. Hugs, dear Shelli. And hug #1 and #2 for me! So thankful that God is with us each step of our journey.

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    1. I know, Di … just itty bitty babies. It went by way too fast. I feel they will do well, too, because they have an idea of what they want in life, they learn from their mistakes, and they know the ONE to go to for help. I’ll give them hugs for you, and you’ll be here in person before too long. ❤

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