We spent yesterday afternoon packing a suitcase and cramming a duffel bag full of all the stuff that a 13-year-old girl needs when she’s going away to camp for a week. (There also may have been a small pile of items her mother thinks she might need over the next few days…as if they’re not going to feed her well or provide Band-Aids as needed 🙂
Today we’ll be texting back and forth as she and the sponsors and other teens drive into the North Carolina mountains. By late afternoon, she’ll have handed over her phone and we won’t be in touch again until Saturday morning.
I’m following in the tradition of my parents and have tucked a note into her suitcase to remind her that we love her and will be missing her. I also remind her that we’ll be praying…for spiritual growth, safety, developing friendships, and fun. Each night, when I leave her sister’s room after saying good night, I’ll step into her room and pray for her.
I’m excited because she’s excited – having anticipated this trip for months – and because she’s embracing this normal step in growing up. I’m sad because it’s yet another small move toward independence…and I know where that leads in the end.
As parents, we often walk that fine line between holding on too tightly and letting go too early. It’s a finely choreographed dance, offering manifold opportunities to ask God for the wisdom He promises.
It’s going to be mighty quiet around here this week. She’ll be miles away making memories and we’ll be eating and talking and living as a family of three.
And it won’t quite feel right until she walks back through our door on Saturday afternoon.