We are taking Ashley, our 20year old, to school in the morning. She is transferring to the College of Charleston in South Carolina. We are proud of her hard work to accomplish this goal. While we are excited for all the future holds for her, it is still a difficult season in life. I know she is ready. I know this is good. But it is change, and change is never easy.
I joined her in her room yesterday as she finished her packing process. For the first time I noticed how much her room is like a jigsaw puzzle. Every item was like a piece of her life, a reflection of her personality, mementos of special moments or monuments to trying times. Intact her room was a complete portrait of the young woman I call my daughter.
I watched as she emptied her closet and drawers. Suddenly the puzzle was losing its pieces. I loved putting her in pretty pink things as a baby. As a little girl she loved to play dress up and as a pre teen we clashed often regarding her clothing choices. Later, as a teenager her clothing choices were a direct reflection of her mood and personality, and as a young adult her clothing was a way for her to communicate her need for respect, admiration and her strong sense of self. The barren closet and drawers no longer hold this image of her.
She deftly swept up bottles and brushes from atop her dresser and deposited them in a plastic tub. Another piece of the puzzle disappeared. It was only yesterday my baby girl entered this world with a head full of soft blonde hair framing her blue eyes. She transitioned from bows and braids to curling irons and flatirons in no time it seems. The top of her dresser, which once only had room for a goldfish bowl and a tube of chapstick, transformed into an artist’s pallet by the time she was a teen. Lipsticks, eye shadow, blush, bronzers, mascara and various application brushes were a testament to her creative style and need to constantly seek beauty. The space, which once held the tools of her quest for beauty, no longer, shows evidence of such a time.
Another piece of the puzzle faded away as photo frames were folded and carefully laid aside to be packed. Every one of them images of she and her friends, always laughing, always together, always in the midst of adventure. These photos she now packed away replaced others she has had over the years…although they were of younger years, the images were the same…all of smiling friends, laughter frozen in time, all reminders of important relationships.
Books which towered by her bedside table were quietly put away. A piece of the puzzle falls to the ground. Books in her bedroom were as necessary as walls and a roof. She is always reading. As a little girl she loved to be read to. I spent countless hours over the years reading everything from Dr. Seuss to most of the Nancy Drew Mystery Series with her. Now I can actually see the clean white surface of her bedside table, I will miss the teetering clutter of texts that once bore testimony to her love of literature.
Boxes, bags and suitcases are piled in the hall awaiting tomorrow’s drive. The items removed have left visual gaps in a room once full of chaos, love and life. Like a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces it stands before me now…but that is okay. Her room is missing pieces that make it uniquely her, but our lives will never be missing the pieces that remind us of her uniqueness. Her room may be empty, but her life is not. Different closets to fill, dressers to cover, bedside tables to clutter and photos to collect are all awaiting her in the next few years, all of which will continue to complete the puzzle/portrait of the young woman I call my daughter.
Though we may be apart for a time, because she is my daughter I will always love her and be working for her best interest. So is the relationship God desires for each of us,because we are His, He loves us and He will always be working in our best interest. ……. Colossians 1:19-23 reminds us all of this very love.