There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:

  a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
  a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
  a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
  a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
  a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
  a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
  a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace.

-Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

“Mommy, I’m ready, you know,” she excitedly proclaimed after depositing off her new school supplies in a clean desk with her name plate prominently displayed, waiting in anticipation for her to fill the seat the very next day.

“I know you are, baby,” I say, swallowing a lump and holding back tears.

And though I don’t say it out loud but the voice is deafening, I think, “But I’m not…”

Today, my baby, my firstborn, goes to school for the first time all day.  I have never had to let go of her for an entire school day and I mourn and dance at the same time.

I mourn because I’m surrendering a bit of control and doing what the whole point of parenting is in the first place – letting her go into the world.

I so desire to run after her, to plead with the clock to just stop it already.  I want her to be my baby and under my care all day, every day because that’s just how it’s been since she was born 6 1/2 years ago.

But it just doesn’t work that way.

And yet I dance because though I feel this way, it wouldn’t be healthy if she was still 20 years old and living with her parents.  This is the deal, the inevitability we sign up for when we start to hope for the two pink lines on the pregnancy test.

We voluntarily sign up for a life of joy.  But joy and pain are a package deal in this game of mothering.

So I release my grip a bit, I force myself to let go.  I surrender her to You, dear Father.  She is your’s anyway, not mine.

But I want to share.

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