Today, 19 year old Em packed up her stuff and headed back to college. She has been home all summer (except for her mission trip to Moscow) and we have loved having her here again. We already said our tearful goodbyes last year when she left for the first time, so this year should be easier, right?
I choked back the tears all day yesterday, knowing it was our last full day together. The summer went by so fast and it was so full we didn't get to do many of the fun things we had hoped to do. Em was our "Home Girl." She kept 13-year-old G.T. occupied, and ran errands, did housework and pitched in so Tom and I were able to work through the load we'd bitten off. I don't know what we would have done without her.
She even ended up working all through the night on our job site on her birthday, and never complained. That's just the kind of girl she is.
We always tell Em, "You are a Jewel." Sweet and unselfish, but no wallflower. She is funny and silly, yet serious and deeply spiritual. With her incredible tumble of red hair and her blue-green eyes, she just simply shines. From the inside out. She has a heart that loves Jesus, and a passion to follow Him forever.
One of Em's best qualities is her determination. From the time she was little, when she'd set her mind on something, you could be sure she would accomplish it. We used to chuckle when her piano teacher would help her select a new piece to learn. She would inevitably pick the piece the teacher told her was "too difficult" for her level.
"Oh yeah? Watch me!" was Em's attitude. And she'd learn it perfectly.
I didn't watch the old Explorer go down our dusty driveway as she left with her Daddy. We said, "No tears, we'll get to see each other later this week. College is only an hour away!" I busied myself with cleaning and tried not to look at her empty room.
It's only when I think about the wondrous gift that she is, and how she has grown into such a beautiful young woman, and how much I will miss getting to see her every day that I feel the tears come.
I guess this is how it is supposed to be when you say good bye to your kids. When they are little, you spend so much time wishing they would just grow up. Then suddenly they are packing up their stuff and waving, and you wonder where the time went. Hey, wait! I didn't mean for it to go that fast.
Oh, we have been so blessed. Through my sniffles, I am grateful.