Anna started college today. She is going Post-Secondary at a school 25 miles from here, so she will still be living at home, but earning some college credits. My heart is aching. She is 18 and has been my little helper since she was 2 years old. Her entire life she has tried to honor and obey her parents. Aside from the ups and downs of normal teenage hormones, her heart is happy. Anna has brought so much joy into life. She can make me laugh in the worst situations and help me see the bright side. She has been a true friend to so many and a wonderful sister to Amy. So why am I sad? I think every mother looks back during a milestone in her child’s life and remembers rocking that child and kissing the owies away. I can’t kiss away the pain now. Anna has to learn how to live life. Part of me wants to go back in time and hold her and protect her, snuggle and tickle her and hear that bubble of laughter only a child can give. But I can’t and honestly I don’t really want to go back. I know that God has His hand on Anna’s life and she has so much to give the world. I can’t be selfish and keep her to myself. She has a purpose. I have to let her go and fulfill it. I have a purpose too. Part of mine was to raise this beautiful young woman and help prepare her for her calling in life. Mine was to be her mother and I always will be. What a grand calling it is to be a mom. Today I am crying, but not really tears of grief. They are mixed tears of sadness and joy. A part of my life will never be the same because Anna is changing. She is growing into what she was meant to be and that is glorious. I want to be happy in knowing I did my part for the Lord. I loved her, disciplined her, praised her, guided her and tried to be an example for her. Now I am letting go and trusting Him. It is not easy but deep within me I know it is right. It is another chapter in this wonderful life and I want to drink it in and enjoy it without longing for the past. Anna is a woman now. She will be given the wisdom and strength to live life to the fullest and bring God glory. That is a good thing. My heart is beginning to smile again.