In the late afternoon, after a full day of catching up on laundry, I watch them match socks and make piles on the bed.
My oldest girls, a small portion of all of my life’s blessings, bend together close enough that one’s curls tumble into the other’s straight locks and together, they seem more complete somehow.
I think about how they both came into the world, just 18 months apart, one fighting mad and the other in a quick rush of quiet, both pink and fresh…
And all mine.
I used to believe that malarky when they were small, as if I had created them and then delivered them into my little world.
Whoever said they were mine, anyway?
I stand at the foot of the bed, the laundry basket nearly empty, my hands held open, just as empty.
They’re half-way out of my house and I can imagine it. I don’t want to, but I can.
This entire mothering thing has always been about letting them go.
I’ve not wanted to say yes to their leaving, but at the foot of the bed, with the piles of clothing stacked in neat rows, the training bras mixed in with the flowered panties, I can say nothing but yes.
Yes, Jesus, they’re yours. They’ve always been only Yours.
“How many pairs of shoes should we take?” She asks the question and I’m awakened to the moment we’re all 3 standing in, the one where they are preparing to leave and I am preparing my heart to stay.
“Two. Maybe 3,” I say. “Leave room for your towels.”
I swallow that lump in my throat and I busy myself with counting hair ties and q-tips, anything to divert the ache in my chest.
“Who is going to help you fix your hair?” I ask the one with the heavy curls and she rolls her eyes. “I can fix it myself,” she says. “It’s just camp. Who cares what I look like?”
The oldest one catches my eye and she smiles because for once, the younger sister is right. Who cares?
I smile. “Go get your swimsuits,” I tell them.
They giggle and rub shoulders as they leave the room and I’m left alone in the middle of their things.
My hands run over their clothes, denim and pink, t-shirts and shorts, and I give my girls to Jesus.
Over and over and over again.
*My girls have been so graciously included in Sunset Avenue’s kids’ camp this year. They left this morning before 8, headed to Ridgecrest for the rest of the week. This is a first for them and they do not know any of the other kids. They also chose to be separated and paired with girls whom they have never met….being desperate for friendships will make people do crazy things and y’all, this is crazy out of their comfort zones. My prayer for them is that they would encounter Jesus in a mighty way and that they would find a place in this group of kids. Join me?