Our baby girl, our oldest child and only daughter, is moving to college today. She'll only be 30 minutes away, but still. I'm gonna miss her. She's also turning 18 in a couple days. Does she have to become a grown up and move out all at one time?
It's funny. There's a deleted scene from my Bittersweet Goodbye manuscript which I'm ironically living out today. When I wrote the scene, ten years ago, I struggled a bit putting myself in the mother's point of view. I looked to my own mom for an example to model the character, Lydia Chapman, after. (I love you, Mom!) Growing up, I remember coming downstairs first thing in the morning to be greeted by the aroma of coffee brewing and my mom sitting at the kitchen table in her bathrobe, her Bible and devotions spread out on the table. I decided to start this day as my mom and Lydia did--rising early and doing devotions before helping my daughter get ready for her first day on campus. Tears!!!!
Here is the deleted scene. It hasn't been edited so it's rough around the edges.
At 5:30 in the morning, as the glow of the sun stretched across the horizon, Lydia Chapman sneaked out of bed and tiptoed downstairs to the kitchen. She methodically put a piece of bread in the toaster and filled the tea kettle with water. Her morning ritual of breakfast and devotions was especially important today, and she had to rise extra early to allow time for it. Today she would send her firstborn to college, and her heart ached at the thought of it. She needed God’s strength to get through this day. Lydia had a close relationship with her daughter and she couldn’t imagine her not living under the same roof. Lydia mourned the late night talks they would no longer share. She found herself grieving Audrey’s childhood. It seemed like just yesterday that Audrey went off to her first day of kindergarten.
Lydia remembered it clearly. Young Audrey was dressed in a pale yellow jumper that had a bright orange sunshine stitched on the front pocket. Audrey had referred to the jumper as her happy dress, and she’d picked it out special for the first day of school. Knowing how excited Audrey was to start school made it easy for Lydia to send her off. The other mothers were kissing their kindergartners goodbye at the classroom door with tears in their eyes, but Lydia’s eyes were filled with pride. Her daughter’s joy was contagious and as Lydia watched Audrey skip into the classroom and greet her teacher with a big hug, she knew Audrey would do just fine without her mommy there to hold her hand. Lydia had dreamed of the wonderful experiences in Audrey’s future. She felt confident that her daughter would grow into an intelligent and radiant young woman.
And she had. Audrey had by far surpassed all the expectations that Lydia had for her. Not only was she a straight A student and an excellent athlete, but she was also kind and sweet and funny. She had a charisma that people were drawn to. But more than any of that, Lydia was thankful for the relationship she had with her daughter. They had always been close and could talk more like friends than mother and daughter. Lydia was afraid of losing that closeness now that Audrey was moving out of the house.
But Lydia tried not to show her fears to Audrey. She wanted Audrey to chase her dreams, not to be held back by an overly attached mother. So she took advantage of quiet moments like this to express her fears to the Lord. She always felt better after casting her cares on Him.
Soon Lydia was jolted by the sound of Audrey’s alarm clock buzzing to life. Audrey continued to slumber despite the grating sound. She must have stayed out late last night, Lydia thought to herself as she bounded up the steps to turn off the alarm. Who will wake her up in the morning when I’m not around?
Lydia switched off the alarm and jostled Audrey. “Wake up, honey. It’s time to get ready for school.” Lydia frowned, realizing this would be her last opportunity to say those words to Audrey. Thank goodness she would still have Darcy at home. “Wake up, honey,” she repeated. “I’ll start the shower for you.”
Lydia hummed as she turned the shower faucet on, remembering the day, many years ago, when she taught Audrey how to adjust the water temperature by herself. Where did the time go? She walked to the linen closet in the hallway and pulled out a fluffy pink towel and matching wash cloth. She set them on the vanity and returned to Audrey’s room. The sun was high in the morning sky now and Lydia pulled open the blinds to let the sunshine pour in.
Audrey finally sprang to life and moaned as she covered her head with her pillow. “Mom, that’s too bright,” she whined. “Close the blinds.”
Lydia ignored her request and continued to hum, more loudly now, as she began straightening the room.
Audrey removed the pillow from her face and sat up clumsily, squinting from the bright sun. “I hope my roommate won’t be this annoying in the morning.”
Lydia paused from her tidying and put her hands on her hips. “I hope she will be. How else will you ever make it to your morning classes on time? Now get in the shower; you’re wasting the hot water.”
Lydia, although using a stern tone, was actually enjoying this mother-daughter exchange, for it fondly reminded her of all the past mornings that this same confabulation had taken place.
(End of scene)
Mommas, hug your kids. They grow up too fast! And hug your moms too!
My sweet little Chloe Grace, me, my amazing mom, and my beautiful grandma. I'm so blessed to have such wonderful ladies to learn life from.