Letting Go

My two precious daughters.
This May my precious first born daughter will graduate with honors from Western Carolina University. I could not be any more proud of this young woman than I am right now. She has endured much, to make it to this point.  She is a trooper.  
I home schooled this little girl for 10 years.  She was a joy to teach, my sunshine and pride and joy.  Always so inquisitive and insistent that she get things “Just right.” A straight “A” student from the start. A teacher’s dream.  So EASY to teach. 

 She began working in the family restaurant business at the tender age of 15.  She has always been dependable and responsible.  Sure she made her share of teenage/naive decisions, but they were always made with love in her heart. A love for her fellow man, a deep caring for others.  She has the tenderest heart of anyone I’ve ever known.  

She started college at the age of 16.  She was a joy to her professors. Each one noticed she had special abilities.  Each one was impressed by her writing skills.  She is a writer. 

I have no idea what I did to deserve such a precious gift. But I am here to say, that God is good. Always.  He was so good to me, when he sent me my Chloe.  A daughter is a treasure always.  
When she left for Western Carolina the August after her graduation, I cried for days. We had never been apart for more than a day or two at a time. I was heartbroken, felt as if a piece of my heart was walking around outside my body.  But I knew, that I had to let go. To let her fly. And…I did.  200 miles away from me.  200 miles away, where I knew not where she was or what she was doing or who she was with. But I trusted, that I had raised her right. And…I did!

It is hard to let go of a child.  One of the hardest things I have ever done. To let them make their own mistakes, to live with the consequences, whatever they may be…good or…bad.  By God’s grace my first child has flown the nest. And…I have survived! It has been hard, there has been much praying, much agony at times, but she has come out on the other side a winner. A good, hard working young lady. 

She is to be married in May, to her sweetheart.  A boy of like faith, that only God could have chosen for her. I am at peace, and so…so happy.  If only you knew the journey it took to get to this point. A long and winding road to be sure. One that took much bravery on her part and mine.

Just the other night, when I was unable to sleep, I thought back over the past 7 years.  The years, when I was letting go…letting her spread her wings. These were hard years, both full of joys and tears.  I was reminded of a particular night that brought me to my knees. It is good to remember where we have come from, so that we can appreciate where we are!

The dormitory conditions at Western for freshmen are terrible to say the very least.  No air conditioning in the heat and so very small. Like a hole in the wall. Community bathrooms, co-ed at that. For a young girl, who was used to a clean environment and Godly living, it was a huge step into the unknown. Not ideal. 

I remember the night we got a phone call. It was the middle of the night.  I was newly pregnant with my last child.  Chloe was away at school. This call was from one of her friends.  They were at the hospital. Chloe was sick & she was injured.  She had the flu. This friend, came to her rescue. 
Now, keep in mind, that when you go to any college orientation, that they will tell you….oh we will take GOOD care of your children. I am here to tell you, they LIE! No they do not. I do not say this lightly or vindictively, but it just is not true. They protect their jobs, their institution of learning, but your child is just another dollar sign to them. 

They say, oh we have doctors on staff at the medical building who will take care of all of their needs. Again, a lie! My daughter, suffers from vasal vagal syncope, she can faint out of the blue! They prescribed her Vicodin for the flu. A controlled substance being handed out on a college campus.  It was too strong. Because they also told her to take cold medicine.  Which she unknowingly & dangerously mixed with this Vicodin. It caused a terrible thing to happen. 

She was in her room that night alone.  She was sick, she got up to go to the community bathroom, she was sitting on the toilet.  She fell forward and passed out.  She was on all of this medication. No one there to monitor her, to help her.  She passed out, hit the stall door, which fortunately was not latched. ( If it had been her neck would have been snapped in half.) She hit that concrete floor and broke her two front teeth. Beautiful teeth, newly straightened and whitened.  She has the MOST beautiful smile. But it will never be the same, because of the ignorance of a nurse practitioner. 

She came to…realized she had fallen. She stood up to the sink and realized her mouth was bleeding.  She saw her teeth were missing.  Can you imagine the trauma, this would cause to anyone? Much less a beautiful teen aged girl?  Her smile was GONE! Her heart was broken.  She couldn’t find her teeth anywhere. Didn’t know if she had swallowed them or not.

She was still feeling dizzy, knew she had to get help. Crawled out into the hallway.  No ONE! If I remember this right…she came to a friends door, who answered and called for emergency help.  Then followed her to the hospital.  The emergency workers had the gall to ask her, if she was on drugs.  Like a common criminal. 

This all happened before we were called. Now mind you, we are 200 miles away.We get a call from her friend, saying Chloe is in hospital, and is okay, but loopy. That  she is missing some teeth. 

I talk to Chloe on the phone. I can tell she is deeply hurt. The kind of hurt, where you feel like your identity is at stake.  I know…she thought she would never be the same.  

I longed to be by her side, to hug her tightly to me. This wonderful gift, this little girl, who I love so deeply. Who I would die for.  But I wasn’t there.  You know how it is, when your children are hurting, you would do anything to take away that pain. ANYTHING!
My heart was broken, because my baby was broken. She deserved so much better. 

We drove that night all those 200 miles with my sweet mother. To rescue our darling, from the big bad college.  I wanted to NEVER send her back. But…she went, and she stayed. We got her teeth fixed, two new crowns.  They are not her real teeth.  I know this, she knows this, but no one else does. NO ONE else knows the pain she has endured. I am SOOOOO proud of her. She is strong. She never gives up. “She is woman, hear her roar!”

That is just one of many scary experiences, that she has endured. She amazes me. Flesh of my flesh. Girl after my own heart. 
So when she walks across that stage with her diploma in hand this May, she is not just another graduate…
She is a force to be reckoned with! 
Watch out world, my baby is all grown up. 
You don’t deserve her, but I will let her go anyway.

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