January 9th, my dearest Kaylynn (10), embarked on an adventure....one without me. A long weekend in Washington state with Daddy then departing from there to Okinawa, Japan (with only Grandma and Papa....Alan flew back home). This was a Christmas gift to her from her grandparents. A trip to visit Alan's twin brother, his wife, and their six beautiful children. I didn't have much time to think about her trip (as we were spending so much time in and out of the orthopedist's office...that is another blog post entirely, but in short, she has a strange disease that is causing her tendon to rip away from her patella), but as departure date came closer, we became more focused.
While packing the essentials and some non-essentials, I realized this is her first adventure without ME. I will not be there to discover with her. I will not be there to enjoy her reactions or to photograph each moment. I WILL MISS OUT ON AN ENTIRE THREE WEEKS OF HER LIFE!!!! Yes, I am a little dramatic. This is a free space for drama if we need it. So, I had to make sure I gave her every little instruction that she needs for the next three weeks. I updated all the books on her kindle (she reads like a maniac, and the flight to Okinawa is very long), I taught her how to use the mp3 player, I reminded her a million times to make sure her camera was fully charged and ready to use...and then the more important things...the details of everyday life. Like, "honey, don't forget to blow your nose every day. And please remember to brush your hair (yes I still remind her to do this everyday...she could really care less if her hair is brushed), don't forget to shower every other day if you can, and honey please remember all of your manners. Eat what is given to you and be thankful, be a helper, don't argue with your grandparents or your aunt and uncle....And as I am saying all of this, she is almost rolling her eyes and laughing at me because she is naturally a servant and would never argue with her grandparents or aunts and uncles. She is so good natured.
The morning of her departure was 3:00am. I woke up to get her and Alan ready but had to say good bye at the house (didn't want another three cranky kiddos). I hugged her tight a million times. I told her to have a good time. I told her to write in her journal every day then I told her to remember to do her Bible lessons. Then I told her, Oh, and Please remember to ask Aunt Katie to Clip your fingernails and toenails. Then I shut the door and waved as they drove away. I walked back in the house.
Then paused.....Clip your fingernails and toenails??!!! My dear daughter is flying who knows how many miles away from me and I remind her to clip her nails? I couldn't fall back asleep. I lay awake thinking about all the things I forgot to remind her to do. I am her daily caregiver, and I will not be her daily caregiver for many weeks. I am confident in the hands that are taking care of her, but I am still the mama and I became crazy with giving directions and reminders. It made me think about how our time together is so much about love, nurturing, teaching. But it is also about preparing. Preparing her to be who she was designed to be. Preparing her to take care of herself. Preparing her for the day when she will need to be ready to clip her own fingernails and toenails.
Alan is home, and he brought back some pictures of her time in Washington (they were there for Alan's grandmother's memorial service). They spent time with family and dear friends (yes I was jealous, but we will head out west this summer). I am happy to share those photos in this post....giving you a glimpse of the beauty of the pacific northwest and also my happy, smiling, adventurous daughter.
We miss her. We start to say something to her, then we realize that she is not here to talk to. We look at each other and say, "Our family is not complete with only 5; we need our number 6 back soon!" We love you Bo-Baylynn and look forward to seeing you in just over a week!