Friday, February 22, 2013

Mothering Is A Tough Job

Today is my youngest daughter's birthday. For the first time in her life, she is not here to celebrate the day with me.


Now it's not the first time a birthday girl has been away from home. There have been senior trips and study abroad sessions that have kept my older daughters separated from me on their special days, and I've managed to survive. 

And while I can honestly say that I do not play favorites with my daughters, I readily admit that it's different to be apart from the youngest. While the older girls have been coming and going for years now, the youngest child in any family is like a little piece of bedrock. They are the ones who still ask to borrow the car, who still need a plate at the dinner table, who still drain your wallet for lunch money, long after the older kids have moved on.

So when the baby of the family grows up and flies away, even if just for a semester at a time, it is a new season of learning to let go. 


I visited my baby at college just last weekend, and before I left, I hid some birthday surprises in her closet. Tonight, as the clock struck twelve, I called her to wish her a happy birthday and to reveal the hiding places so she could find her gifts. Shortly after our call, she sent me this picture of her new birthday banner and balloon on display in her room.

{I know. It's not a birthday balloon. I couldn't find any cute ones so I went with a school logo.}

Somehow, this image put everything into perspective. Her handmade mobile of tiny origami cranes and her topographical map of Mount Rainier - precious treasures of her science-loving soul - remind me that she is not just living away from home.. 

She is pursuing her dreams. 
She is fulfilling her destiny. 
She is becoming the person she was born to be.


And rather than lament over the physical distance between us, my mothering heart overflows to realize what an interesting, confident, accomplished person my itty bitty baby has become.

Now that is something to celebrate.

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