Tonight I stood in the hallway of my daughters apartment building in New York and said goodbye. Tomorrow morning I will get on an airplane and fly 3000 miles back to our home in California. It is bittersweet. For those of you who may be sending a child off to college this fall (or perhaps off to the military, a missions trip or other separation) – remember to look for the joy in the midst of the sadness.
Michelle – my – Belle….I should be asleep but I can do that on the airplane tomorrow, right?I just couldn’t go to bed without taking a moment to write you a letter on the eve of this monumental day in your life – your first day of college. It grips my heart to even type those words out as I know that this is truly a season of change in all of our lives. We will all never be the same again. In some ways that is really very sad but in many, many other ways this change is exciting and a time for rejoicing and celebration.I am sad that we will not get to physically live in the same house – enjoying that day to day contact that we always take for granted. I will miss the hugs, the smiles, the snuggling on the couch, the kisses goodnight, our family dinners and movie nights, playing games together and the long talks about life, love and the Lord. It is just not the same without you there.I am sad that “the sisters” will not have you there to look to for wisdom, advice, mentoring and spontaneous late night family room chats. I am sad that you will not be there to cheer them on in their sporting events, watch their performances, help them with homework, drive them to activities, and celebrate their birthdays and other milestones. I am also sad that Daniel will change so much over these next four years and that our long hoped for adopted brother may arrive when you are not there to welcome him to the family.Yet even with this sadness…I am rejoicing that you are going to grow, mature and be filled with knowledge and wisdom. These next four years will build on the foundation your father and I have laid and you will “be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water and in whatever you do, you will prosper!” (Psalm 1)I am rejoicing that you will make lifelong friends who will be a blessing to you and you to them. Friends who you will inspire, motivate, challenge, influence and love, as they will you. Friends who will become like family that you can count on and trust. Friends who our family will embrace as our own.I am rejoicing that we as a family will all learn to appreciate each other more and not take our time together for granted.I am rejoicing that you will be making precious memories that will last a lifetime!I am rejoicing that as God’s plan for your life begins to unfold that you will be filled with wonder, awe and amazement at all that He is doing in and through you.I am rejoicing that our love and the ties that bind us together are based in the Lord Jesus and that NEVER changes.And I am also rejoicing that we live in a time of technology that will keep us tightly connected via cell phones, email, text messages, webcam, facebook and we will even promise to write old fashioned letters! (they called it mail – you remember with paper, pen and stamps!)This is a BIG day for you, a changing of seasons and a monumental moment in time. I am so very proud of you. I believe in you. And I am standing in the wings cheering for you.My prayer for you today, tomorrow and always –Michelle, may the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you. May the Lord be gracious unto you and give you peace.I love you. Zoot! Zoot!Mommy
Celebrating together – Michelle’s last night before college begins