Day 6,662...a Kamiless home.
We dropped Kami off at school yesterday and said our tearful goodbyes. We had spent a couple days with her at the college up to that point, so it wasn't just pulling in, unloading her stuff, and heading back home. That made it a little less traumatic...hahaha. We sorta eased into the final goodbye...there was an exit strategy, so to speak.
As we were driving home, I heard Heidi's phone receive a text and she told me that Kami wrote and said that there was a little surprise in the top drawer of the desk in her room for our family. But beyond that, she left us to imagine what that could be.
When we got home, one of the girls went up and grabbed four notes that she wrote before she left. One for her mom and I, one for the boys, one for Tay, and one for Aly. When it was first given to me, I was still unpacking and I just wasn't in the frame of mind yet to read it. So I set it aside and waited until later when I had the strength and attention to take it in.
As the night worn on, I kept looking at the note on the kitchen counter. I could see her handwriting from afar, and even that put a lump in my throat. I wasn't ready yet.
Finally, the coast was clear downstairs and I sauntered over to the half-opened letter and sat down at the kitchen table. I took a deep breath and prepared my heart to hear whatever was in this note. I honestly didn't have any idea...Kami's an unpredictable character. ;)
I opened it and started reading:
"Mom and Dad, I know this is totally cliché, but you two really are the best parents I could ever ask for. As I’ve been growing up more these last few months, I’ve been more observant to watching you guys parent, and I just realized how amazing you are!
But I really just want to thank you for being so great with me in school. You weren’t the kind of parents who got mad if I didn’t get all A’s on everything. I didn’t do super fantastic in school, mostly A’s and B’s, occasionally some C’s. But you both were okay with that and didn’t get angry. That made me feel safe and secure to know that even if I didn’t do so hot you wouldn’t get mad. But, you’d ask, “Why do you think it didn’t go well? How can you prepare for the next test?” I really appreciate that.
I don’t give you two enough credit for putting up with me for 18 years—haha! When you drop me off at IWU, I will have lived with you guys for 6,661 days. On the 6,662nd day I’ll be on my own. I took every single one of those days for granted, and that makes me sad. I wish I could go back in time and relive all of it. I just wanted to thank you because every single one of those days I felt so loved, cherished, and blessed. I truly feel so blessed to call you guys my parents. You two have invested about 159,870 hours into me—see my math skills? ;) And I know many of those hours were challenging and trying.
But thank you so much for making me the woman I am today. You guys are honestly some of my best friends. I will love you with all of my heart for the rest of my life.
Several parts of this note hit me hard, but I think the part that drilled me between the eyes was the breakdown of days and hours. While those hours are going by you don’t realize how many you’re racking up. When those days are passing by, they really do add up. They go slow at first and then pick up speed down the home stretch.
But when she seperated the 6,661 days where she was with us from the 6,662nd day when she was going to be on her own, that hit me hard. That one day is quite the transition, the reality check, and life shift. Yesterday the day in between those days and I could feel the transfer. The hand off. I was giving her to God and to Indiana Wesleyan, letting go and surrendering her life afresh to the care of her Heavenly Father. I was holding on with white knuckles in my spirit and felt myself release her in a specific moment where I stopped fighting back tears with clenched jaw and fighting back release with clenched fists. I remember saying, “She’s Yours, God. Watch over her heart.” As I was doing this we were in a chapel service and they asked the students to put out their hands and to have the parents put their hands on their child. As I opened my eyes and saw her open hands, I asked God to come fill her with his strength and love. I asked him to take every good seed that we’d planted and to cause it to grow and bear fruit. I sought forgiveness for every bad seed that we planted asking God to heal any wound bringing freedom to her heart.
And with that, I let go.
Day 6,662. That’s the day I’m sitting in this Monday morning. I’m caught between going forward and looking backward. My equilibrium is a little off and my orientation is askew, but I feel really good about my daughter and the place she’s at in her heart and life. I could see her diving headlong into her new friendships and commenting about every experience she was having with joy and gratitude. That did my heart good.
This was the same girl that for years could barely sleep in her own bed and wanted to sleep at the foot of our bed. She couldn’t sleep if we left for a date and she was home alone with a baby sitter. She couldn’t go to friend’s houses when she was younger because she had to be home with us in order to relax into sleep. I remember thinking, “She is never going to be able to go to college…maybe she’ll study online.” Little did we know. God has freed her heart and grown her character so much these past 5 years and we were eyewitnesses of his emboldening presence. If any parent is reading this, whatever you’re facing today is a phase…be faithful in the phase and watch God bring freedom. We’ve seen it with each of our daughters.
I walked by her room last night. I stopped, walked in and turned on the light. I could hear her voice and her laugh. I could see her beautiful face looking directly at me. I could see her laying in bed and scrolling through her phone like the troller she is! I could see her at her desk on her computer. I could smell her in the comforter of her bed and sense her spirit in the remnants of what she left behind. I choked back some tears as I shut the light off and went downstairs to go to bed.
I can’t believe we’re here, but we are. It’s excruciating and exciting. Yeah, those two things.