The picture made me smile.
It was an old picture of my daughter, not even two years old giving me one of her “squeezy hugs” --the kind where she would obediently hold on so tightly, we would have to say from time to time, “Okay ---you can let go now”.
She was holding on to me so sweetly in the picture, I had to smile. I had to smile to keep from crying. Because I see the new pictures of that not-so-little girl, are her in a white dress walking across a stage to receive her high school diploma.
And the pictures after that will be of her walking out the door to attend Miami University and the rest of her life.
My head knows it is supposed to be this way. All babies, even the ones that give big “squeezy-hugs” eventually do grow up. But my heart isn’t being that rational right now. My heart is feeling a “squeezy hug” like never before.
You see, my heart remembers the first time I felt a hint of this feeling. My heart remembers this very same girl learning to ride a bike. In my over-zealousness I had her five year-old body wrapped in every protective gear available at that time. Helmet, shin guards, knee pads, elbow pads. It was a wonder she could even pedal. But she is my first born and that’s just part of the package with first borns.
And even though I had her so overly protected, I still worried as I watched her learn to go forward on her own. Faster and faster. Further and further.
And just like she’s supposed to, she’s beginning to move further away everyday ---sometimes merely by inches, sometimes by leaps and bounds. Only now I have no protective armor to cover her in as she rides off for this next incredible step of her life.
Somehow she’s so ready. Somehow, I’m so not.
So I smile at the 16 year old picture that seems like it was taken just yesterday.
Remembering it all.
Only now the roles have changed a bit.
Now, the grown-up voice I hear is hers, as she begins to turn to me and say, “Okay ---you can let go now.”