(Lyndsay's first Christmas. We're wearing the matching nightgowns my mom made for us. Now, all these years later, Lyndsay has hair, and mine is gray.)
How do we make the most of these last days? I mean, I have been so conscious of the time I have with her, and we really have "lived it up" the best that we can. I'm thankful that looking back I have very few regrets. We learned together, she and I. She was just as much my teacher as I was hers. Oh, how grateful I am for the 11 years I had her in my homeschool. And, the books we've read together, the miles we've walked together, the meals we've cooked together, the laughs we've shared. And even the pain. She's been a witness to my pain, just as I've witnessed hers. What a joy it's been to grow up with Lyndsay. She is a treasure to me, of such value that it brings me to tears to think she was entrusted to my care.
But now, she's feeling such anxiety. She doesn't want to talk about leaving, or school, or the future (the future is 8 days away, I remind her). She wants to just freeze time and stay right here. Man, if part of me doesn't wish that could be. I wondered if we tip-toed through this last week, maybe time wouldn't take notice of us and forget to tick and tock. And yet the other part of me knows that we're better off stomping and dancing around through these last days of Life As We Know It, because happiness comes from living it all to the fullest, with gratitude bursting. And Time doesn't much care how we feel anyway. It will bless us in the end.
I see myself in her. Eighteen years old, and a whole world of discovery and growth and joy ahead of her. She's already lightyears ahead of my 18-year-old self. She won't make some of the mistakes that I made at her age, but she'll make her own.
I hope she's ready. I hope I prepared her enough. I keep going through mental checklists, making sure there's not something really significant that I missed. Last night we did another planning session together, rearranging her schedule of classes again. I hope she's not in over her head. I know she's so capable and I know she's a hard worker. I also know she's trembling inside, and that she relies on me, and I won't be there to catch her. But here she is, all grown up, ready to go and do what has been in the plan all along. I am bursting with pride. And my knees are knocking. It's a new stage of life for me, as well.
This last week I can't cry too much. She can't take it, emotional as she is right now. I have to be the strong one, pepping her up, full of excitement: "Oh! It's going to be so much fun! You're going to love it!" It's a tough act, let me tell you. And I'm very much alone in this journey I have to make, which makes it a bit harder. Oh, how I'll miss her face around here. And yet, I'm so happy she will be somewhere else.
Okay, my job this week is to make Lyndsay's Favorite Things. She's expressed several times how much she will miss my cooking, so I've had her tell me all the things she wants me to make before she leaves. It's a lot of chicken, folks. But we'll fill her up with her favorites.
We're starting off with Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos and Monkey Bread. This is going to be a fun food week. It's just what we need around here.