Monday, August 20, 2012

Pigtails Forever

As soon as my mind lulled from a deep sleep to a state of partial awakeness, I knew it was the morning I had been dreading for 18 1/2 years. The first day of college for my first born child.

Before my eyes were even open, tears trickled down my face.

The mature side of me was so excited for Morgan. Thrilled about her new season of life and all the fun and challenging opportunities that lie ahead. But the mommy side of me felt like dead bolting her bedroom door so I could keep her safe and sound and always within an arm's reach.

Instead, I walked upstairs to her room, crawled under her covers and spent a few minutes talking and snuggling with her before we started our busy day.

We spent hours packing up all the items purchased for her new home away from home into the car, and then headed towards the university.

Up to that point, other than a few tears earlier that morning, I had held up pretty good. Things were going fine, until my husband tried to give me a pep talk - which did not pep me up, I must say. His intentions were good, and I listened quietly while he said things like "we have to let the kids grow up"; "she's an awesome girl and is going to be fine"; and "she's not that far away from home".

But when he said "and we can't keep them in pigtails forever" - the dam broke. Tears burst forth and I couldn't stop them.

But...but...but... I love pigtails! I love frilly dresses, and big pink bows! I love black patton shoes, stuffed animals and Hello Kitty pocketbooks. I love back-to-school shopping, taking pictures the first day of school, cheerleading uniforms and watching them play sports all year. I love tucking them in each night, praying with them, kisses on the forehead, and turning out the light knowing they will be safely snuggled into their beds each morning when I arise.

Fotunately that morning despite the busyness around the house, I had stopped to read my Jesus Calling daily devotion which said this:  "FIND ME in the midst of the maelstrom. Sometimes events whirl around you so quickly that they become a blur. Whisper My Name in recognition that I am still with you. Without skipping a beat in the activities that occupy you, you find strength and Peace through praying My Name."

Throughout the whirlwind of our day, although we were laughing and enjoying the move-in process, there were many moments when I secretly felt as if I were on the brink of an emotional meltdown. Yet each time that happened, I remembered God's message to me that morning, and I prayed the name of Jesus over and over. Secretly whispering His name under my breath - Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. With each utter of His name, a feeling of peace would wash over me once again, helping me hold back the tears.

When everything was in place and the room was decorated, the time came when we had to depart. I felt the ugly cry coming on. You know the kind where your face contorts, your nose runs and you can't talk like a normal person. But the name of Jesus brought strength once again, equipping me to say our goodbyes with smiles and hugs. And a few tears, of course.

I love being a mom to all three of my children, so the thought of my sweet daughter not being there every morning when I wake up, meandering downstairs with her sleepy look and bouncy bun on the top of her head just makes my heart heavy and my eyes blurry. The reality of not seeing her daily makes me ache inside.

After all, what mom doesn't wish her little girl could stay in pigtails forever?

But, I also love who God has uniquely created her to be. Not perfect, but perfectly beautiful in every way that matters. Not without mistakes, but with the ability to grow from them. Not without regrets of hard lessons learned, but with building of her character along the way. With a love of the arts, God-given talent, a decorative flair, and the courage to be her own person.I know I will learn to love this new season of life just as much, as I watch her become the woman God created her to be.

And who knows, maybe when she comes home for holiday break, she'll ask me to help with her pigtails. And that will bring a smile to this momma's face.

Maybe you are a momma going through a similar experience today, either a first day of kindergarten, middle school, high school, or college.

Or maybe you are facing an even more difficult circumstance, feeling afraid that you don't have the strength to get through it. 

Might I encourage you, no matter what situation you are facing, to whisper the name of Jesus throughout your day? Each time you feel weak and incapable, simply whisper His name.

You'll be amazed at the peace you will be filled with, even if your circumstance is not at all peaceful.

Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,  in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,  to the glory of God the Father.

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Anonymous said...

From one mama to another (I have 2 in college and one graduating HS at Christmas). I understand.

I know this may not help but....
We face this day with pride and joy because THIS is what we've been doing all this time.
Preparing them & us for the world.

Tracie Miles said...

Thank you Wanda - I totally agree! Just hard to let go. Thanks for this sweet reminder!

Anonymous said...

How I feel your pain. I will be whispering the name of Jesus over and over. My house is empty now that my daughter is gone to college. I am praying God will fill the empty places.


Raspberrymama said...

Walking the same road with you! We took our 1st daughter to college this weekend. My oldest graduated from college in May and got married the next Saturday. I have another son that is a Junior at this same University, but nothing prepared me for leaving my little girl there! You described my thoughts and feelings perfectly...I will be praying for you these next few weeks as we make these hard adjustments together!
Susan Acre

MelissaF said...

My baby started Kindergarten yesterday and I loved this post. My favorite part was about how God created her (and all his children) to be uniquely her. Hope she has a great freshman year.

Tammy C. said...

Love this post. My daughter is starting middle school next week! We have orientation tomorrow night and I was feeling a little anxious about it. Thank you for the gentle reminder to whisper the name of Jesus throughout my day. He is all the strength I need!

Pam said...

Tracey, oh how I can relate to your post. Just this past weekend we left our oldest on a college campus. It was hard, but I also knew it was right. And right isn't always easy. I shed tears and will probably shed more. Mamas who have walked this path before me have passed along such encouragement to me as I've struggled with letting go. One mama's advice keeps rolling over and over in my head, "The best is yet to come." This has helped me so much and I pray it will help you and other mamas who are shedding tears this week over an empty room : )

Tracie Miles said...

Thanks for all your encouragement fellow moms! God is up to something good with our kids and we just have to entrust Him with them now!

Anonymous said...

I am tracking with you Tracie. I am reading Jesus Calling devotional - it is great! And I took my oldest to college on Saturday. Unusually quiet in the home and wondering how life is for my college student. I will remember to say His name ~ Jesus.

Melissa W said...

Oh how I understand. We just took our youngest daughter to a college 7 hours away from home. She has been my cooking partner, movie and book buddy and only other girl in a house with 3 guys. It has been a huge adjustment. I miss her joyful spirit. All I can say is Thank you Lord for giving someone the talent and foresight to invent Skype. Our oldest daughter went to college an hour away and lived with Grandma and Grandpa, which was much easier.

Anonymous said...

Well, I´m not a mom yet, hope to be very soon; but to you all I can talk for the daughters who leave home, it hurts really badly. I live in Germany since almost three years now, my mom lives in Mexico and I miss her so much, because she has been always my best friend, cook and shopping partner.
Thank you for remind me the great love between mothers and daughters, God certainly is good!

Anonymous said...

I am a single mom and my oldest son is a senior in high school and my youngest son is a freshman. The tears have already started for when my boys leave especially my oldest. My life has revolved around my two boys as I have been tw only parent for them for the last 8 years. I have work day and night for my children trying to be the example they need to be successful God fearing men. It will be hard to let them go when that time comes. I been whispering the name of Jesus for a long time now. I'm feeling the pain and the peace with you. Thank you for the story

Anonymous said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes, I am feeling some separation anxiety today from my toddler who did not want to be left at the sitter today. I thank Jesus for being with us both today as we are apart and together.