An argument is brewing between my head and my heart. Several months ago I agreed to something that my heart is now struggling to accept. My daughter is leaving home in one week. In a moment of what seemed like rational thought, we gave our permission for her to go, but now an ache is growing in my heart as the day approaches. She is eighteen and heading out on a year-long adventure between high school and college. She is going to Costa Rica, but it might as well be Mars. The reality that she will be so far from home is weighing heavier every day.
My daughter is everything I am not. She has big faith; I doubt everything. She forgives before it’s even needed; I wait for a confession and then decide if forgiveness is deserved. She is wildly optimistic; I am a pessimist about all things, foreign or domestic. She has large dreams; I struggle to stay asleep. She gets excited about every little thing; I welcome excitement, but cut it down before it gets all the way through the door. She makes friends easily; I hardly make them. She is sunny; I am overcast with deep, ominous clouds. She loves to be messy and spontaneous; I am messy and spontaneous, but I do not love it.
I try to envision what our home will be like without her. It will be neater, but so what! It will be simpler, which is something I say I want, but now I don’t care. There’s a shadow coming closer, and I am beginning to question our decision to let her go. My sanguine girl would hate all this melancholy brooding. She likes to take her index fingers and push the corners of my mouth up into a smile. And, the faintest smile pleases her. That is her nature. She looks for good…and she finds it.
Tomorrow she will sing Chris Rice’s “Missin’ You” in church. And, I will take in every word, because my heart isn’t aching enough yet!
“Hear me, O Father, Master of the Universe. Thou hast given me a daughter who brings me great pride and pleasure; and for this kindness I thank Thee for ever and ever. Amen.” (a Jewish blessing)