test runMy youngest daughter leaves on a one week field trip tonight. She’s never been away from us for that long in her short twelve year life.

She’s a little apprehensive about the sleeping conditions, the seasick medicine and the confidence in it, the no cell phone rule, and the time away from us.

I guess this is like a test run. She’ll get to see what it’s like to live away, sort of on her own without her parents for a week. We’ll get to see what it’s like to be empty nesters for a week.

I’m not diggin’ this test run… The sun will rise and set seven times before she gets back home. Then the rising and setting of the sun will continue for a time, a very short amount of time… And she’ll be gone.

She texted her sister at college yesterday to let her big sister know that she was “on her way to work.” She has volunteered to work at the library restocking books. I have to say I’m impressed with the fact that she went directly to her passion to find work, she doesn’t care that she doesn’t get paid, she loves it.

This, of course, is another test run for her to see what it’s going to be like someday when she works for real.

I know it’s the natural way of things, I’ve been down this road before. It’s just that this is the last road… My job is to make sure she’s on that road and knows which direction she’s headed. I know she won’t get lost because she has a GPS. (God Provides Service) She’s learned that with God she cannot be lost.

I know it’s a gradual process, off to college, back for the summers, it takes a while. When McKenzie left for college our life changed forever, it hasn’t been the same since. The realization that yes they do grow up and leave is very real. That was a difficult adjustment period, especially for my wife.

I thought it would be easier when Ali left for college. It wasn’t… Change is a monumental task. The reality of coming to the day you’ve prepared your kids for their whole life. I hate to use the worn out coinage, but “surreal” really does best define it. I’ve stood there in shock twice now, struggling to grasp the realness in the moment of drastic change. And then they’re gone…

That reality of kids growing up and going off to college caught me off guard, and I was watching carefully, them and my watch, and it still snuck up on me.

The little one is learning valuable tips on how to prepare for a trip. My wife has made several lists, crossed of each item as they finished them. She’s learning how to be organized and prepare for change. This change is just a different place to sleep for a week.

My list of things I need to get done before she leaves on her more permanent trip is getting close to the bottom. I’ve crossed off many things. There are more items crossed off our list now than items outstanding…I hope I haven’t forgotten anything on her list…

She’s getting ready to go now. I’ll drive her to school and I’ll wait until the bus pulls out of the parking lot. We’ll be waving at each other until she’s out of site.

I’ll be thinking of that day in the not so distant future when I’ll be waving goodbye for the last time…