Earlier This Summer
by Anne Apple
Earlier this summer, as I got dressed for work, I looked from my bathroom into the bedroom and there they were – two young women, my daughters, separated by a decade, one 18, the other 8, linked in sisterhood. Treasuring the leisure of time and the luxury of breakfast in bed, they lingered, talking about how their day would unfold. “We could go shopping!” Betsy said. “I don’t like to shop.” Abigail retorted. “We could go to the pool!” bubbled Abigail. “It’s so hot even that would be miserable.” Betsy moaned.
After a bit of a pause, Abigail suggested, “Betsy, today we should put others before ourselves.” With disdain, Betsy said, “Who are you all cranked up to be – Little Miss Brown-Noser, Princess Patootie? Really, are you trying to get brownie points with mom or what?” And Abigail responded, “No, really – it’s what it says in God’s little instruction book.”
This summer marks the point of transition for our family as our first born, Betsy, will be off to Agnes Scott College in late August. Mother’s who have been where I am in time and place meet me in the church hallway and hesitate, catching my eye – then ask, “Are you ready?” And then quickly say, “It’s hard, you know. I’ll be thinking about you.”
Are we ever ready for the steps that parenting require? I’m not certain if I’m ready. I’m taking steps to grieve her leaving, but goodness – she isn’t dead – just going off to college. Actually, I’m pretty certain I’m not ready for this parting save for the stock in Kleenex I’ll use when we pull out of Decatur, Georgia, and head home to Memphis.
It’s what we do, right? Raise our children to be independent, to make good choices and then entrust them to the world – let them go and grow – love them away into the world to make a difference – to live into the dreams they have, to live into who God has created them to be, to live into the dreams God has for them – for the sake of the world.
Abigail’s wisdom really came from a small book for bathroom reading but she spoke to my heart – like those mother’s who are meeting me in the hallway. Like the Psalmist who speaks for God and says, “Therefore, let all who are faithful offer prayer to you; at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them. You are a hiding-place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.
Here’s to these young harbingers of hope who teach me to have ears to hear glad cries and to the possibility that I might be faithful in prayer.