It was casual.
She sat on the couch for an hour watching Aladdin and when we told her it was time to get ready she decided she wanted to play upstairs instead.
I thought she was wavering.
But she wasn’t.
She came down ten minutes later with her blanket and a tea set. Walked up to me. Smiled. Gave me a hug. And said, “Bye Mommy.” As if that was all that was necessary. She had made up her mind. She was resolute. And she was ready to go.
Not ready to go to Grandmommy’s for a night or to spend the day with her cousin or to go downstairs to her class for five hours.
She was ready to go outside. Get in my parents’ car. And drive twelve hours to my brother’s house in Texas.
She’s four and half… going on twenty-four. And she was ready to go show the world what she could do.
I can’t blame her. Since I knew I was pregnant I prayed that she would be fearless and adventurous and courageous. And HOW many times have I heard, “be careful what you wish for?” Because she is all that and more!
And as I watched her skip down our sidewalk off on her great adventure my heart skipped with her. Skipped because I was fighting back fears and tears. But also skipped because I was so dang proud of her!
They say it’s harder on Mommy than it is on the kids. And I’ll be the first to tell you that a part of me was heartbroken and afraid and worried about the unimaginable. I admit… I cried.
But another part of me was so excited for this new season. For a season of absence making the heart grow fonder. A season of respecting other adults (and trusting other adults). I was excited to see how God could use this time to strengthen our relationship and expand her worldview. To challenge my urge to control and to build my faith.
She is starting to discover who she is apart from us. What she is capable of when we are not holding her hand. She is beginning to understand the vast world she lives in and she is going to find her place in it eventually… why not start now? Why not start with family that we love and trust? With cousins who will open her eyes to a whole new realm of life and friendship and fun? Why not?
And so I let her go. And she didn’t seem sad or afraid. But even if she was, deep down inside, that’s okay, too. Because part of becoming brave is learning how to keep going even if you’re scared. Because she’s discovering that it’s ok to be sad and it’s ok to be afraid and it’s ok to be away.
New neurological paths are being carved in her little head and in her little heart. She’s beginning to understand time and space and how Mommy can be very very far away, but not gone. And those little paths are securing her trust and her faith in how God made her. How God made the world. And how God will care for her when she is far away from those she loves.
And the best part? She will discover that those little paths, carved like pristine spider webs all over this beautiful world, will, at the end…
always lead her home.