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I Can’t Keep You

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anna11This one is quickly headed to the high school finish line. She only has two years left. I’m already thinking of all the ways I could try to keep her.

I tend to avoid thinking about things, hard or painful things, until I have to. Sometimes until I’m forced to. I put them off as long as I can and if that’s forever then I’m totally good with that. That’s not really true because I know that’s not healthy but that’s my typical MO. I’m not a huge fan of pain.

It didn’t surprise me when I woke up at 2:45am the morning of her first day of 11th grade, worrying about my last baby going off to her big ol’ high school. All of the things that I can’t protect her from while she’s there started welling up in me. Bomb threats, fire scares, drug busts, weapons on campus… you know, all those things that HAVE happened in her school. She really does go to a great school. It’s so unfortunate that this is the norm for our schools these days.

And then there’s the deep-seated fear of a terrorist attack on her school, or any school for that matter. I vividly remember 9/11 and fighting the fierce urge to go scoop up all my babies from their schools and hold them close to me for forever. Us moms… we know we must let go of our babies, we know it’s right. But rarely is right easy.

Just like God told me the morning of 9/11, He told me in the wee hours of this morning:

Andrea, you can’t protect her, but I can. I’m really much better at that anyway, you know. You can’t keep her, but I can.

annabutterflyThen I began thinking of all the good in her and all the good she will share. The light she will shine on her peers. The fun she will have. The stories she will come home with. Her wings need to be strengthened and strength comes from working it out. She has always been our social butterfly. When she could barely stand, she would stand near the end of our driveway and wave at cars going by. When she could barely walk, she would wobble over to stop and say “hi” to people sitting on benches in our mall. She loves people and craves being with them. She loves making them smile. She loves sharing her heart with them. As many of them as possible. She’s been in small schools and home school but for such a time as this, I’m not surprised at all that God has placed her in a very large school. She belongs there. It’s her mission field. She needs to be there. They need her there. I would be selfish to keep her.

To my baby girl, I’ve done this a few times before but today it’s all fresh and new because it’s you and it’s this year and it’s different. I send you off with an anxious heart but a heart that knows God has you in His wings. I can’t protect you but He can. And He’s way better at it than I am.

I love you so much, but I can’t keep you. The truth is, I love you too much to keep you.

Go fly. (safely please!!)

Love, Mom

Like a bird protecting its young, God will cover you with His feathers, will protect you under His great wings; His faithfulness will form a shield around you, a rock-solid wall to protect you. Psalm 91:4 (The Voice)


About Andrea

A stumbling pilgrim and gatherer of stories. Stories about Jesus and how He gave His life for me, sustains me and redeems me ... even though.

6 responses »

  1. Right there with you, my youngest started 11th grade a couple of weeks ago, and my oldest left for missionary school yesterday. Whole new level of pain and pride. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart!


  2. Oh, wow! This is beautiful and I need to read it every year. Especially the big ones like this one–the first year of middle school. Excited and nervous. Peace and anxiety. Feeling all the feels!


  3. Pingback: Five Back to School Tips From a Seasoned Mom | Empty Plate . Full Heart

  4. Pingback: “I’ll probably never eat on a schedule again.” and other random thoughts from a brand new empty nester. – Notherhood

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