So hard to believe, yet squarely and undeniably before me, sometimes defiant and challenging, other times demure and seeking comfort, my little girl, my young woman, preparing to venture out on her own.
After months of that feel like years and moments all at once, she stands on the brink of making her first adult decision of which college she will attend in the fall. Ready to run forward to her future, yet, in small fleeting moments perhaps only recognized by a mother watching and memorizing every expression, gesture and inflection, a brief hesitation, a backward glance.
There are signs that she is ready. The unexpected kindness to her brother, with whom she used to quarrel and fuss. The game she did not see, squirreled away studying for the Calculus test, the gaggle of girlfriends gathered, not to giggle and talk all things boys, rather to make blankets for the homeless in our community.
Will her growth, her new found maturity make the absence of her smile, her laugh, her light easier to bare? Likely not. There is comfort in the intimate familiarity with her strength and spirit, knowing she will engage, explore and succeed, will find her path and cherish every moment upon it.
While knowing my heart will suffer at the loss of her presence, it will, at the same time, soar with her on her journey.