My Books

Monday, August 1, 2016

Releasing the Last Baby Bird

It's official. I'm an emotional hot mess today.

I’m in the last weeks of having a child, however adult, living under my roof. My oldest child is almost thirty-four years old, and these last thirty-four years of mothering have been the sweetest work I've ever done, but they're quickly coming to an end. Oh, I know, once a mother, always a mother, but it won't be the same not having a child living under my roof.

Ashley "sewing" at Grandma's house.
My youngest child, Ashley, is preparing to leave our safe, happy nest in mid-August. She will move to Washington state and live in a 1976 Ford Chateau RV that we're working hard to renovate. My husband and I will drive her, her RV, and her car to Washington, then fly home without her.

Me and my girl
I just finished recovering the cushions for Ashley's little RV couch today. The stress level is a bit high right now due to her tight finances, my August first book deadline, and pressing church responsibilities that also need to be done by the first of August. Add to that the work that needs to be finished on her RV and our regular life responsibilities and, well, let's say we're all wound a little tight.  
Ashley and me at Sea World Tide Pool
As I worked on that last cushion—the corner cushion that has given me fits for the last two weeks—the tears came. I don't want her to go! But go she must, for that's what we've tried to prepare her, and ourselves, for since she was born that December evening nearly twenty-one years ago.
Ashley, 9 mo. old
She is capable, confident, and so very personable. The world will be blessed to have her outside of our warm cocoon, and will enjoy the joy and energy she brings into it. She's been independent since she could walk and has had a mind of her own even before that. She uses it well, and her decisions are thoughtful and right. Her heart is big and holds so much love that she willingly shares with others. When she was in elementary school she wouldn't leave until she'd hugged every teacher, whether they were hers or not. That's who she is and how she operates.
Silly face on the first day of school
She is a sunbeam and our home won't be nearly as bright without her. She isn't always cheerful, but who is? She can make me laugh until tears stream down my cheeks. And vice versa. She has been my coffee buddy, my fellow thrifter, my pedicure partner, and my teacher when it came to loving animals.
High school graduation
Celebrating getting her driver's license
She'll always be my daughter, but I'd be a fool to think things will ever be the same, even when she comes back to visit. For once a child crosses the threshold of independent living, there's no going back to the way things were.
18th birthday
So go, little bird, with our love, our blessing, our deepest prayers for your success, happiness, personal and spiritual growth. May you find all your heart longs for and may the world treat you gently. Remember how very loved you are and that our door and our hearts are always open to you. When you fly back, you'll be a different person, as will we. But we'll always love you unconditionally, no matter where you are.
At a AZ Diamondbacks game
Ashley as Rose the Fairy at the AZ Renaissance Fair, 2016

Use your gifts. Love God and live out your faith every day. Stay close to His side and you'll always be at home.

Fly well, baby bird, fly well.