This is the time of year when first year college students are busy preparing to leave and saying goodbye to not only family, but dear friends as well. I remember well two years ago when Sierra was in this stage of her life. There is so much to look forward to… a new adventure, and yet the pain of saying goodbye to everyone you love and leaving home is a bit overwhelming. For many parents, just the anticipation can send them into an extreme state of anxiety… but I think I was ready for the transition too.
I’ll never forget the day we moved Sierra into the dorm. Even with the heat, the stress and the physical exhaustion… my mind was preoccupied with someone else, my niece Lisa. Lisa died several years ago, just before her tenth birthday. Her death was sudden and a shock to us all. She was such a vibrant and loving child… a smile that could light up the world with a very sweet disposition. Her presence is sorely missed whenever we are together. While I can’t say that I can even imagine the pain her loss has caused her parents, I know that we do share in the same hopes and dreams for our children. That I know we have in common. On the day we moved into the dorm, all I could think of was my brother and sister-in-law and how they would give anything to have moved Lisa into a dorm room and sent her off to college. I’m sure they had once dreamed of that day just as much as we had… had imagined it as much as we had and yet they never got the chance. How blessed we were… there was no way I was going to look at this event with sadness. It was a great day… a day we’d dreamed of even before we had children… a goal met and a new beginning. There are so many parents that never get to experience this… I wasn’t going to waste a moment.
So now the time has come around again several of our friends are leaving for school for the first time. I said goodbye to a dear girl today who has touched our lives with her sweet spirit and left our family with unforgettable memories. She’s moving out of state to go to school… a dream of hers and her parents as well. I can’t be sad… I’m too filled with joy, anticipation and hopefulness for all of these young men and women. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish. They are so extraordinary and I am so honored to be a part of their lives. To them I say, well done. We love you, we’re proud of you and can’t wait to see what the future holds. God Speed!