First and Last

I look up and see that she’s sitting with friends, girls a year or two her senior, instead of her brother.
It doesn’t seem to bother him, and I am glad that she’s stepped out on her own.
Her friend says something and she laughs.
Not a big laugh, but the smile-shrug thing she does when she’s almost comfortable with someone.
I am grateful for these girls, the ones who are including her and making her feel a part of something good.
I worry about her.
(I shouldn’t but I do.)
She is so vibrant and vivacious at home.
But it’s hard for her when she steps into the unknown.

As the music begins, she walks up front with the other girls behind her and sits lady-like on the steps.
I’m not surprised that she went, but that she led the way.
And they hear God’s word spoken just for them in their own words and they stand to leave.
All of them.
Even my girl – the one who has always been to skittish to go.

From the choir, I watch her walk out, eyeing the others to make sure she’s doing it right.
And we bring up our songbooks and the music begins to play and I choke back emotions.
Oh, how silly I am, I think.
But really, honestly…I am proud of her.
It seems like such a little thing.
(But it’s not.)

Our song done, we slip out of the loft and into pews.
And I find myself sitting alone for the first time in many, many services.
I am proud of her, happy for her…but I miss her already.
I am overly aware lately of just how much I love them.
And how I miss their little faces and big voices when we are apart, even if for only a short while.

Exactly when, I wonder, did I become such a tearful sap?
Probably when I realized just how fast it all flies by.
You hear it, and you know it…but there is a point when it just settles in and your soul finally understands head and heart.
There is a point when the big things become little and the little things big.
When you realize that this moment
~ this one right here ~
is more monumental in its simplicity than the greatest moments in human history.

Today wasn’t the first last time nor the last first time she will leave me,
but it is none-the-less a moment that shook my soul and made my eyes a bit leaky.
I think of how last week she looked up and whispered rub my back, not quite a statement or question,
And she nestled in like a kitten and closed her eyes and smiled.
And I can feel my hand on her skin in that little space between the button and the fabric loop in the pink princess dress.
I’d done it a thousand times, and yet something in me said “Memorize this.”
I’m so glad I did.

3 Responses to First and Last
  1. cathy keith
    October 30, 2012 | 2:31 pm

    I understand what you are feeling. I have felt that way with my children trying new things without me.

  2. Paula
    October 30, 2012 | 9:44 pm

    I completely understand….Alyssa’s new thing is to say ‘I know right?’ Its so cute, but it sounds so grown up! Gwen is retreating into books more & more every day. I love how she gets lost in a good book, but it seems like it was just yesterday that she was excited about her first ‘chapter book’…it does go by so very fast.