abbysrHow is it possible that this day is here?

Surprisingly, miraculously pregnant with you – wasn’t that just a few years ago? Your beautiful, blond curls bouncing as you learned to walk and run and fall – wasn’t that just a few months ago? 5th grade student body president – wasn’t that just last week? Gorgeous and sophisticated at the prom – wasn’t that just yesterday? My little girl – gone? No. Never. This reality, this truth will always be mine to hold, feel, and know: you ever-remain my youngest, my last, my little girl, my love.

For all my reminiscing and remembering, it is you today – here and now – who captivates me.

You surprise and sustain me with your perfectly dry and perfectly timed sense-of-humor. One single line texted in the midst of painful tension. Two hysterical sentences that capture the exact irony or silliness of a particular scene. The faces (and photos) you post on Snapchat that depict a young woman who does not take herself too seriously, who can laugh at herself, who often needs her own smile more than anything else, who ultimately, eventually, no matter what, lets it light her face.

And then there is the way you lead – still catching me off guard. Stepping up, signing up, saying yes. You, the petite and often quiet girl who over and over again takes on responsibility for others, for friends, for projects, for timelines, for tasks – and all in alignment with what and who you most love, your values, your priorities, your heart.

I watch you navigate the space between youth and adulthood, the way circumstances and emotions pull you one direction or the other, and I smile (even through tears, at times) because I sense your struggle, but more, your strength. I witness what wounds you, what breaks your heart, what pierces your soul and increasingly recognize that there is less and less I can say or do, more and more for me to learn as you grieve, restore, and rise, yet again. I see how you must navigate deep and stormy relational waters, over and over again; the ways in which you straddle self-interest with your heart’s desire to be kind. I observe and marvel at your ability to make hard decisions, your clear and definitive voice, your wisdom and strength. You will be fine. I probably say this more for myself than for you. In fact, you probably already know.

In a little under a year I will be taking you to college, leaving home, setting out. How is it possible that this day is almost here? You will be more than fine. You already are. Yes, Abby, walk and run and fall…and fly. You can, you are, you’re ready. No more bouncing, blond curls, but a trail of brilliance and strength that transfixes and transforms me still. Always.

I love you, sweet girl.