Monday, August 25, 2008

My Baby Girl

Well, it happened. I became one of those parents who said "it seems like yesterday she was just a baby". I thought that only came from old people, but today, those words left my lips. The words left my lips as tears left my eyes. My baby girl had her first day of high school.

We have spent weeks shopping for the right clothes, the perfect purse, and the coolest backpack. She has spent weeks anticipating this exciting day, as I spent those same weeks dreading it. High school means she is growing up. High school just sounds - well, grown.

I remember when I was in high school. I remember feeling so grown up, so with it, so all together, and so smart. I remember feeling like I knew all there was to know, and that life was just a bowl of cherries waiting to be eaten. Now I look at my baby girl, who has grown up to be a beautiful young lady with a heart of gold, but I still see a little girl. It is hard to accept that she is growing up - especially when just last week she convinced me to buy her a new colorbook and a 24 pack of playdough in great awesome colors! Im getting mixed signals here!

We arrived at the school this morning fifteen minutes earlier than expected, and her friends were not there yet.... so we sat in the parking lot waiting for them.... cursed would be the day that she would walk in alone! As I sat there, watching her call her friends, text her youth pastor, look around at the all the kids walking through the parking lot, and checking her hair in the mirror - I prayed.

I prayed for God to guide her not only through this day, but through the next four years. I prayed for God to protect her until she was able to make good decisions on her own. I prayed for God to keep her safe from harm. I prayed for her to be able to stay strong in her faith, even when all odds are against her. I prayed for the devil to stay far away from her, and for God to put an army of angels around her to shield her from temptations, peer pressure and people who will not have her best interest at heart.

As the time came for her to go inside the school, she suffered through a hug and a kiss from mom, and jumped excitedly out of the car. A smile covered her beautiful face, but I knew that anxiousness, nervousness, fears, excitement and insecurities were raging inside her heart. So I prayed for God to give her a peace to help her get through the day, and He did.

I realized that I cant keep her in my little bubble anymore, even though I would like to. I have to let her live, but for a while I will still have the awesome privilege and responsibility of holding the reigns. For a little while longer, she will still need my hugs, even when she says she doesnt want them. She will still need my love, even when I say no to her weekend plans. She will still need my advice, even though she will think she knows more than me. She will still need my shoulder, when her heart is broken. She still needs her mom, just in a different way.

As I watched her walk into the building, as tall as me, long hair, trendy outfit, all dolled up for her first day of school - fond memories came flooding back. For not that long ago, I had watched her. I watched her walk into her first day of class in her little blue jean skirt, with a purple butterfly on it and a frilly, purple shirt to match. I watched her bend down to carefully tie her shiny new white tennis shoes. I watched her toss her golden curls back and bat her big blue eyes with beaming confidence, as she put away her new crayons and settled into her tiny desk. I watched her wipe away a tiny tear as she waved bye to mom and dad.

But today, I was the one wiping away a tear - but it was a tear of happiness. A tear of joy that God has blessed me with this precious girl, and given me the incredible joy of raising her. A tear of joy for what an amazing person she has become.

My job as a parent continues, but just in a different season now. My job as a parent consists of more than taking care of her needs, but taking of her heart and her soul. I can now not only watch her grow, but watch her grow in Christ. I can watch her not only try to fit in her with friends, but watch her learn where she fits into the kingdom of God. I can watch her find her way, and pray that along the way, she will hold hands with her heavenly father............and if Im lucky, maybe even me.

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Joyful said... eyes are all misty. Your writing just captivates my heart every day. What a lovely tribute and expression of your heart.

My son doesn't return to school until a week tomorrow and I'm cherishing each day I still have him home right now. He is entering Grade 11 at High School and I know the next couple of years will pass quickly.

Treasuring each moment and trusting in God,

Laurie Ann said...

Praying for you and your daughter as you enter this new season of life.

Shane said...

Well written! That season scares me. I still learning how to handle to small stuff - grade school! Thank God it is one year at a time - I'd never make it!

Cindy said...

I remember those days. Treasure them. Mine are 23 and 26 and the time seems to have just slipped away.
Thank you for sharing your heart. It reminds me that I must continue to uphold my kids in prayer every day.

ILKA said...

Hi Tracie
Thank you for sharing. This year I sent my 14, soon to be 15 y/o daughter this month(Sept) to 10th grade. I too experienced that heart pain you describe. Even today I sit and look at her baby pictures and wonder where did the time go. I miss those sweet days. But these high school days are sweet too! I must tell myself this everyday, because she too knows it all and I know nothing.(smile)I pray along with you that God protects our children mind, body and spirit, and that He continues to lead guide and protect them. These young ladies are beautiful to us and we want the best for them. These days for me have been bittersweet, but I still press on. Thank you for sharing.