When I brought you home from the hospital you each weighed just a smidge over 4 pounds. You came home needy. You needed to be fed every 2 hours round the clock and needed to be weighed every 24 hours. Heart monitors and home health nurses were constant companions.
The first five weeks of your life were the hardest for me. Leaving the hospital every day without you almost ripped my heart out. When you finally came home I spent the next 12 weeks of your life sleeping on the floor of the nursery with my hand on your crib. Countless times a night one of your heart monitors would beep signaling that you'd forgotten to breathe, I'd wake up in a panic and shake the crib to wake you up enough to breathe again. Then every two hours we'd all wake up and eat and cry together.
6,855 days have passed since the first day we shared together as mother and daughter. So much has changed. You're not needy anymore. And I'm not quite sure how to let you go. For almost 19 years I've purposefully prepared you to leave the nest, and now that your time to fly is here I'm not sure that I'm ready to watch you soar.
The truth is, there's nothing in all the world more that I've loved more than I've loved being your mom. That Jesus would choose me to have the honor of sharing life with you is the greatest of all gifts. So how do you let go of the thing you've loved most?
But letting go is what mothers do. We let you go from our bodies and bring you forth into this world. We let you go from our arms and watch your feeble first steps. We let you go from our homes onto that big scary yellow school bus. We let you go from our driveways with the keys to our minivans. Every day from day one until day 6,855 is a day that we learn to let you go just a little bit more. Letting go is what mothers do.
And even though there have been too many moments of letting go to count it doesn't make this moment any easier. The letting go is always hard, always an exercise of trust. Only two things make this letting go any easier. Jesus and you.
Jesus because He has proven to be a better parent than I could ever be. Because He has been our constant companion through all of the letting goes. Because He has been faithful through every moment. Because His love for you overshadows mine. Because He goes before you and prepares a way for you.
And you. Because you amaze me. Allison, with your joy and humility and deep trust in Jesus. And Alexa with your sweet, gentle, yet fiercely strong spirit. I look at you and know that even though you may falter, you will soar! You will run your race and hear your "well done" at the end of it all.
I can't wait to see it all unfold. Though my time of running with you holding your hand has come to its end; I'll always be here. Watching. Praying. Cheering you on. I'll always be here to shake the crib and remind you to breathe. I'll be here when your body (or your soul) is in need of a good meal. I'll be here when the next step is bigger than the first step of the bus to a kindergartner and you need someone to tell you that "you can do it!".
So, baby girls of mine, I release you into this great big amazing world. Go shine for Jesus! Go soar!