This afternoon I drove past my girls' future. Groups of incoming college freshmen orienting themselves with campus. For me, back-to-college weekend in recent years has been one filled with nostalgia and reminiscent smiles. It's been filled with excitement for the kids who left their homes to soak of their final years before adult responsibility. Images of soaking up sun on front porches, listening to music in a nerdy fraternity's back yard, and walking into classes nearly skipping have filled my mind as I watch the students' nervous excitement all over town.
This year... this year was different. This was the year I realized that I had just a handful of years to prepare my girls to do life away from home. The briefest of years are ahead of us, and I find myself wondering how we are ever going to be ready. J has had 14 years of careful nurturing and guidance. Even with nearly a decade and a half with her, I feel like there is so much left to teach. Which makes me a little panicky about our sweet A. There is so much lost time, and more time that will be spent getting to know and trust each other before teaching can be the focus. It's overwhelming and leaves me breathless just thinking about the tiny number of days she has under our roof.
Miss A is a phenomenal kid. Truly, we are so blessed by her each and every day. She is a phenomenal big sister and daughter. She is happy to help out and seems to want to be around Amos and I more than alone. She is extremely intelligent, witty, and a great listener. And then there are moments when I can see the loss from years without consistency, without adults to invest in her and love her enough to give her boundaries. Those moments strike my heart and knock me to my knees. The responsibility is huge, the lost time vast, and my wisdom small.
Two weeks ago, a guarded teenager moved into our home. Praise God, each and every day, I have watched her begin to trust and to love and to rely. The layers are becoming slowly and steadily thinner, and I know that God is working miracles in her heart.