Today was another hard one! M has left our nest. Today we took her to college, and watched as she quickly grew up in literally what seems like a day. Just this past month, she passed her driver's test, purchased her own car bought and paid for, secured her own car insurance, bought her own laptop, and flew away from home.
M moved in one day after we did in 2002. It was Christmas Eve, and J drove to Blue Ridge to meet the family that had been keeping M and her sister for two months while our house was being completed. Once it was complete and we had moved in, we got the girl's immediately. There was no way I was spending that first Christmas without them. M was wiry, hyper, and fun! She was very talkative and told us about EVERYTHING! She enjoyed life, loved to help, and LOVED to follow the rules and tell us she followed the rules. (gosh, I love overachievers!)
(This was our first family photo, M was just a mere 11 years old and still wore hairbows. We laugh and laugh about this!)
Over the years, Mary has grown, changed, learned, had ups and downs, but most of all has bonded with a family. Two of our youngest J and ME watched as she left and I could see in their faces, they thought she would never come back. That's the hard part of what we do. Little ones don't understand college. In regular families, most siblings are only a few years younger than those leaving, and understand why they can't be at home. Our little ones don't get it. At. All. M promised she would be home in one month for Ann Claire's baptism, so they were content with that.
(This was just taken just last week at the beach, what a beauty!)
Today was her first day to even drive somewhere two hours away. I rode with her and helped navigate her journey. We talked and chatted about lots of things, and I tried to keep her company hoping our chattiness would keep away the tears. But the inevitable has come, she is not here, she is sleeping under another roof tonight, and her life is forever changed. . . she has grown up!
I have held it together all day, and I tried my hardest not to cry in front of her. I definitely felt myself holding on a little tighter when we hugged as we said our goodbyes. It was back in the North Georgia mountains where we once picked her up, that we left in her again today. And now. . .life goes on, she will have new challenges to face, and I can only hope she will come to us for help, questions, and answers. Praying hard for her tonight and thanking God for the past years we have had with her!