Wednesday, June 15, 2011

And off she goes...

It was nothing as I pictured.  Really.
Nothing about it was how I thought it'd look, feel or be...
I mean I knew I'd be emotional, duh, but all the rest of it was like a dream
or something.
A feeling I really can't describe because it's not how I've ever allowed
myself to feel.

All of the huge moments leading up to these past few days have been so
And the fact that I am who I am, and am obsessed with embracing them all,
and truly eating them up individually, had them come one by one,
but at lightening speed.
The cheer banquet, was the green light in my mind that things were
coming to a close...
And I had told myself that once we got the letter regarding the end of
the year festivities,
it was going to tidal wave.  And it did.

Shopping for prom dresses, online Sr week house views,
her two week notice for work, announcements,
the cap and gown coming....
But I still filled my busy brain with party planning and all of her
friend's celebrations-
leading up to grad night. 
All wonderful distractions-literally, holding on by five fingers, that slowing were
slipping to four, and then three...
Until Monday night, when I found myself holding, as tight as I could, with just a thumb.
High up in the stands, with my family and a heart that had never felt the way
it did, at that moment.

The music started and over four hundred young adults started to make
their way to an arena
filled with moms and dads holding cameras, video recorders and
overwhelming love for someone in
that line.
It gave me chills.  I knew that this was it.  Here they come.

We waited, as she waited. 
There Lexi was in line, braided hair, flip flops...that is who she is now.
That is who she turned out to be...

I flashed for a second to Kindergarten graduation-where I
remember imagining this day.
Not even being able to picture what kind of personality would
take over her life.
Would she be outgoing, or shy. 
Into style or creative.
Would she be athletic?  
And oh my gosh, what would she look like? 

I couldn't imagine that morning, 12 years ago,  as I snapped her picture
with Mrs Cuskey, her first ever teacher,
that all those questions would be answered so fast.
I had heard it would, but here we are.
And there she is.

We held hands and it was in seconds, "ALEXIS MARIE HALE".
My world was silent. 
She shook a few hands and walked down the aisle.
My eyes filled up and I just stared until a small speech of
hope for the future was spoken
and hats filled the sky...
It was over.
Childhood, the school years, anything I had ever known...

And yet, the feeling as I cried was not what I thought I'd feel.
I assumed I would feel loss.
And although the first thought naturally is to cry for the loss
of what was ending,
I was so overwhelmed with excitement for her, I never let
myself go there.

I spent eighteen years, embracing, enjoying, making memories...
with all the time
I had in that chapter.
My heart was so full of that time in our life, it absorbed any part
of what others may regret or look back sadly upon.
I stood with only the beauty of witnessing our firstborn turn
into woman,
with just the call of her name.

Looking back on this year, speeding by on the track one million
miles an hour,
it really seemed to feel we would have more time to fit all these last
school-age milestones in.
And there is still a few left regarding all of it.

We have some shopping trips planned, which is always fun.
Sr week is coming, so I'm sure to remember 20 years ago, when I
go and grab some cases of mac and cheese
and a few bags of junk food
for them. :)
And we have our week at the beach at the beginning of July.
Full of the annual fun and craziness~
But this year, it will be sprinkled with
some bitter sweet.

This will be the first family vacation, where thinking about going, is
gonna be tough.
I can't wait to spend hours relaxing, having no plan- just enjoying
everybody together.
But the third day, Roman and I will be leaving the gang with my
family, to take a drive.
The drive to drop our child off at summer session, where unlike the ceremony's
tears, will not end with hugging our little
girl and bringing her home.
Somehow, maybe only with God's grace (and the strength to move mountains),
we will be hugging her and then leaving.

How I will do it-how I will kiss her face and walk down a hall that
isn't linking her bedroom to mine-
I cannot imagine.
I don't know how something so foreign, or unnatural happens. 
I just don't.
But I will be.

This new phase will be nothing like the one I knew...but it
doesn't mean it wont be just as amazing.
Just in a different way.
Each of the chapters in their book will be full of all new things-
I think that most parents' heart aches at chapter 2
though, because
unlike the last, these next years, don't have your name
next to theirs on every page.

This next section, has them as the main character.
And although you will enter certain scenes,
these are roads they will travel without you driving.

God has it right on, ages they will start pulling back, and
wanting to be more independent.
He purposely has them getting annoyed and gravitating toward friends.
It's no accident it happens that way.
He gives us all this time~from holding them as newborns to their
eighteenth birthdays.
Time to kiss them, and hug them, and share in their memories. 
To be part of their life, every single day.

All of this, for all of us. 
So that it isn't just over night, because it is bound
to feel like it.
It's gradual as you look back, but will be hard regardless.
And knowing that early on, can help to embrace even the smallest of things-
So you, like me, can look back and smile through the tears.

The other night we were watching a movie and Lex was sitting next to me.
She fell asleep and ended up with her head on my lap.
After everyone went up to bed, I just sat there and leaned
over to rest mine near hers.
I didn't leave.
My leg was asleep at times, and my arm from time to time,
but it didn't matter.
If someone offered me $10,000 to get up I wouldn't have.
I was as comfortable as I could ever be.
We slept that way all night.

I will miss every day that I don't get to see the face I feel I've known my whole life.
I will miss all the coffee runs and the calls from the shower that she
forgot a towel.
I will miss just jumping on her bed to find out the latest gossip.
Or having her tell me that my belt looks stupid but she has an even
better one that would look great.
I will feel sad knowing how much all her brothers and sisters
will miss her being around.
And oh, how will I ever handle, not getting a kiss before going to bed,
knowing everyone is here, under one roof.

But this adventure of hers is about to begin, and it has endless possibility.
It can't happen if things stay the same, so we are doing this!
I have a new role now, and just like for her, it has never been.
So exciting!  So full of promise!!

Congratulations Lexi-
As Dad and I said at your toast-
You were our only "surprise", and what an amazing one
you were.
We never had a huge amount of money,
but you are the first of eight things, that have always made us feel rich.

No matter where you are living or even sleeping at night,
I will forever feel like that night on the couch~
You will always be that close to my heart.

I love you sooo much and am so proud of you baby girl!!!!

Hugs! :)

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