Last week, I quite literally gave my little girl back. As I took her back to the city where she was born to begin her college studies - to the place where she first became mine - I thought a lot about our time together and the job I had done as a mother. And I began to cry.
Mind you - I FULLY expected to cry on this trip! After all, this girl is one of my greatest friends and I knew I was going to miss her like crazy. But this was different. I realized that if I had to do it all over again, I would have done things the same way. No regrets. I was able to say in all honesty that I had done my very best. (Guilt over a few too many less than nutritious meals or an extra tv show to keep them quiet doesn't count. I was thinking a little bigger than that!)
As we met her roommates and a few new friends while we were getting her place set up, I got to take a look at her with fresh eyes - to see her as all of these new people were seeing her. Again - tears as I realized how amazing she is: beautiful and kind, thoughtful and smart, spiritually rock solid, adventurous and funny, that she knows who she is and what she wants from life, and that she was completely READY for this new experience.
As I attended the parent orientation, I thought about my time spent in this town, and wondered if I had left any lasting impact. Was this place that gave me such a great and solid start to my adult life any better for my having been there? Had I given anything back? I don't know if my time spent there as a young adult made a significant difference, but I do know that it is a brighter place because my daughter is there. What more could I give than that?
And I thought about this adventure called parenthood. Heavenly Father gives us these children to raise, to love, and to learn from. Then we give them back and get to watch the good they can do. Contrary to my expectations, I flew back home with a happy heart. I am grateful for the opportunity to GROW that motherhood has been! Goodness knows I wasn't qualified when I first took this job, but I get to learn along the way, and I have my awesome husband and my Heavenly Father's help. And I am so grateful for my Ashley, and excited to watch her life unfold. She's really something.