Tomorrow is a big day for me. As I sit here in the wee hours of the morning, trying to begin my day before the rest of the house wakes up. I am growing more and more anxious about what I have to do this morning. I spend my quiet time with God, trying not to think about it. Distracting myself with other things after my bible study time is over. Things like filling orders, folding laundry, organizing my week. Anything but the things that are to come in just a few hours. I think about the baby shower for my cousin (in-law) that my daughter Addison and I attended this afternoon. My Aunt (in-law), kept reminding me how wonderful Addison was as a baby and how she loved that her outfits were coordinated down to the pacifier. She told me she once opened her diaper bag to find a spare outfit, which included different sunglasses and pacifier. She was probably under a year old. What happened to that little girl? Throughout the shower I glanced at my daughter, sitting with her cousins. She was in rare form. There are far and few times that you will see her in a dress (tye-died with leggings but still), her dressy sandals and her hair down. She even had a necklace on. I was reminded just how beautiful she really was. You see, it has become common practice for her to wear whatever she is comfortable in (because I don’t care to have the fights anymore) and her hair is NEVER down. Her feet adorn her crocks on a regular basis and her beauty is usually hidden under about 4 inches of dirt. Nothing matches anymore, unless you consider 5 shades of blue to be matching, which she does. In August she will turn 7 and I can’t even remember what those pacifiers used to look like. How did we get this far? I don’t think I saw this accumulation of time happening. And I catch myself. I’m thinking about it again. It’s almost as if God wants me to…
How many times have you heard someone say, (maybe you’ve said it yourself), “I wish I could just stop time!” I’m experiencing that right now. Today, we will leave the house at 8:30am for my daughter’s first day of an all day day camp. 9am to3pm and it’s about 25 mins away. Go ahead and say it, I set you up for something bigger, you thought it was something more serious. Well I am sorry, but this is a HUGE deal to me. I’ve never left her anywhere alone like this. All she can talk about is the ZIPLINE! She’s never done a zipline before. What if she falls, what if she’s scared, what if she hates it and I am not there to give her the confidence she needs to do this! However, I seem to be the only one that is nervous. She doesn’t seem to be at all. I wonder if this is why they don’t allow the parents to stay.
All I know is that she is not ready to do anything of this. she willl be scared once she faces it. I don’t want her to be scared or to feel alone. I don’t want her to eperience new things because they aren’t safe and she won’t be comfortable. I don’t want her to want me and me not be there. What if someone is mean to her or another little girl doesn’t want to be her friend? What if she has no one to sit with at the lunch table? The more I think about it, the more I realize, she just isn’t ready. This is a mistake. She is homeschooled for goodness sake. She isn’t ready for this kind of public vulnerablity. I don’t think she can handle all of this…
Or maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m just not ready for it. Maybe she will do just fine, make lots of friends, and ROCK that zipline. I don’t know. That doesn’t sound right but my husband keeps insisting that it is. Yesterday, as is common practice with my child, she asked me if I had gone to camp like this when I as her age. I was reminded of the reason I was so excited to sign her up for this. I told her about my experiences at Mill Road Day Camp and all of the amazing friends I made all those summer. How much fun it was and all of the adventurous things I got to do. I told her I loved it. So I guess this is where I have to put my trust in God and not myself. I have to have faith and not be on edge. I have to believe that God DOES have her best interests at heart and that He CAN take better care of her than I ever could.
So that being said, here are 5 things I want my daughter to know before she leaves my protective bubble tomorrow.
- God Loves You – and he is standing next to you every minute of every day. You don’t need my protection because you have His. He has surrounded you with amazing people who love Jesus just as much as we do. You will be fine.
- Don’t Get Your Feelings Hurt – these kids are new at this too. If they are being mean it’s because they don’t want to leave themselves vulnerable. Stand up for yourself, don’t back down but don’t be pushy either. Be proud of who you are.
- Stop Growing Up – I mean it. Stop it. Don’t get too big for your britches and don’t forget that cuddling with me and your daddy is the best thing in the whole white world. You still need to do it often. (This goes for various other things as well. I will provide you with the list before we head to camp.
- Be kind to others ALL of the time – Invite the kid sitting alone to play with you, never leave anyone out. Use kind words even when it’s hard, and think before you speak. Mind your manners, say please and thank you, and TRY IT. Whether it’s food, an activity, or just something new. TRY IT with a smile on your face.
- Knowthatyoudontneedme – I wrote that one all together in the hopes of confusing you. I couldn’t figure out how to make the font super small so this seemed to be acceptable. Don’t spend too much time here it’s fine. This part isn’t important anyway. (God on the other hand, is exactly who you need!)
Go ahead and tell me I am overreacting. I am aware that this is a day camp, not a sleep-away camp and that she will have 2 friends from our homeschool community with her. I never said it made sense or it was rational. I just don’t think she should go. This is all going to be new. New people, new ideas, a new setting. But I suppose there will be new friends, new songs, & new adventures too. Maybe you will try new things and learn more about yourself. Maybe you will like it, maybe this will be a good experience for you…
The truth is, it’s hard for me to watch you become more independent. It’s hard for me to know that you will do things that are scary and I won’t be there to “make it ok.” It’s hard for me to let you get hurt, just to learn a life lesson. The truth is, that I don’t have a choice. I have to let you go. I must remember that I am a parent. I wanted to be a parent and God knew that I could be. A parent isn’t someone who puts you in a bubble and protects you from the world, a parent is a person who teaches you how to live in it. For you do not belong to me, you belong to a father who loves you more than I could ever imagine, and can keep you safer than I ever can.
I guess I need to tell you a 2 more things too….
- Don’t be scared be excited. This experience can be some of the best times of your life if you allow.
- I hate to admit this, but maybe you are ready. Maybe you can do this without me.
I leave you with one of my favorite quotes that I think, is quite appropriate for today. Don’t be a worry wart like your mom, be a brave child of God and seek adventure.
“What if I fall? Oh my darling, but what if you fly?”