It’s snowing here in Virginia, which means it’s panic time for the weather boys and girls. Yesterday I heard one TV weatherwoman say, “And tomorrow, it appears that we will be having a weather event.

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? I guess this is the ‘weather event’: IT’S SNOWING!!!!!

It’s pretty and the air feels crisp and cold. The clouds are hanging low and heavy, burdening the sky.

I’m sitting in the midst of a house that appears to have been the scene of a weather event itself – or perhaps a party event – but, in truth, it’s just the home of five busy, rambunctious kids. Who are all gone. But they’ve left a trail behind; homework, cereal bowls, shoes, Wii controllers, mail, books, shoes, more shoes, and look – over there! – more shoes!!!

The youngest four are spending the weekend with their dad, having a lot of fun, I’m sure.

The oldest…

Gulp.

I just returned from putting Sarah and Elijah (boyfriend) on a plane bound for Cleveland. His birthday gift to her. His mom and I drove together, got them checked in, watched them make their way through security, waved one last time and then watched them disappear. I did okay, until she turned and walked beyond my sight.

And then I felt my heart crack.

Sarah is at the stage in life where more and more things will occur that she will navigate alone, and I will simply have to stand back quietly and watch. Pray. Breathe deeply. Hold my tongue. Today was one of those. It’s a challenge to imagine her on the plane (her first flight), a little nervous, wondering what she’s hearing and feeling and experiencing, without me there to explain it all and reassure her. And keep her safe.

And here come the tears…

My children, my greatest joy, occupy the softest part of my heart. The part that didn’t even ripen until their birth. And sometimes it feels as though the past 17 years have been nothing but slow and steady growth, a careful maturation of beauty and confidence, a fragile bloom that turned into a firm fruit, still on the vine.

Watching my daughter walk down the runway to airplane with her boyfriend provokes a major tugging on the vine, that still-existent umbilical cord that binds me and bids me watch over her.

My daughter is far, far away, above me even as I type this. What a feeling. I’m not sure I like it so much, but I welcome it, I suppose. The whole point of having them is to raise them up, empower and equip them to be decent, independent humans. Right?

I miss my girl already.

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  1. Thank you so much for this Beth, I’m not there yet but one day in the not too distant future… It’s tough this parent bit, but so rewarding.. much love my friend… I know what you mean about the part of your heart that didn’t even ripen until after their birth – that is such a good way of putting it..Take care, Katiex

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  2. Very eloquently written Beth. Having experienced a few to these moments myself, I can identify with the feelings you write about. I hope you have now heard from her that she has arrived.

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  3. Knowing that I’ll never experience this makes me rather melancholy, but I know that Sarah will be fine, because you put down such strong roots. Love and hugs to you Beth.

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  4. I know! I know! Gina was a high school senior when she took her first flight to a college in NC. Alone. To meet strangers for a campus tour and weekend with the swim coach and swim team. I watched her board an Amtrak to NJ to do the same thing. I remember sobbing on my way home from the station.While she was in the air to NC, I did not and could not work at the office. I worked at the high school Gina attended and visited the guidance counselor’s office. Carol was a good friend and knew Gina. These words are for you, too, Beth. Carol said,“What in the world are you worried about? She’ll be just fine. She’s a confident and independent young woman. You raised her to be that way, whether you know it or not…”

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  5. Letting go is very hard, isn’t it.We want to keep on picking them up (if they fall) but we can’t.When our daughter was 18, she got on a plane (not for the 1st time, though) and flew to London, England to work for 6 months! Talk about hard!

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