When my daughter was four years old, she and I were sitting at our dining room table doing separate art projects. Mine was for a deadline, hers for pleasure (mine and hers :). We were working quietly, lost in our thoughts. Breaking the silence, she asked if she could use the ruler I was using.
In our home, rulers have always been evasive. I would purchase some at bargain prices at the beginning of the school year, but they would escape before long and we would have to scramble for straight edges or measurements.
That day, we had one yellow ruler between us. It was a special yellow ruler. It had cutouts in coveted shapes: heart, star, square, triangle, circle, if I remember correctly. What artist could resist? Not my Katie. Not her mom.
So, now that I have diverted your attention a bit, you will better appreciate what came next. After enough time of silence to allow me to refocus my attention to the task at hand, Katie suddenly said in a definitive and slightly exasperated tone, "I gotta get my own place; I gotta get my own things."
It took all of the control I could muster to not burst out laughing, but in my mind I thought, If she is saying this at four, what will she be like at sixteen?
At sixteen, I suspect she was still feeling the same way, but she was too sweet to say it aloud. Now, at twenty-one, she is taking the plunge. She is not coming home for the summer. This is her final college summer; she will be a senior next year. She broke the news to me gently in a facebook chat...
for the summer?
At the time, I was grateful we were chatting and didn't have skype. This isn't the first time I have written on the effect my daughter's leaving home has had on me and you would think that three years later it would be better...and it is. Though I love spending time with her and her brother (who is nine years older and has been out of the house a lot longer), by God's grace, time helps to ease the sadness.
One of the toughest things is deciding what to do with her bedroom (AKA: deciding to do her bedroom). When she was home at Spring Break, I saw her take a long look around her room - as if she were soaking in the images and storing them away. I had told her I would be boxing her things up since she doesn't plan to be back, but it is a very hard thing to do. Before Katie came along, that was my room. I sewed in there and did artwork in there. It was my own place and my own things, but making it into anything but her bedroom is like the punctuation at the end of the sentence. It affirms finality.
She will be spending the summer in a house with seven other girls, including her best buddy who is attending college several states away. They will work and play the summer away. I am sure they will go to the beach as often as they can afford the gas to do so and they will be grilling and laughing and loving their time. I am thrilled for her.
I will be spending my summer in sweet fellowship with my husband, my mom, family and friends. I plan be cleaning, sort, sale stuff in my front yard, edit, complete a project that was started three years ago, and decide what direction my life needs to take from here. I hope to do more writing, get serious about artwork again, and begin generating some income. All as the Lord allows...
My nest may be empty, thought the momma bird, but my heart is full. It is pleasant to think about my children making their way in the world, resting in the blessed truth that God has set eternity in their hearts and holds them in the palm of His hand. It is also pleasant to think of making my own way in the world. What do I want to be when I grow up? I have some ideas.