Friday, September 12, 2008

Turning Loose

Today Anna started a pre-school program and next month she’ll be five-years-old. I’m smart enough to know what happens next: I turn around good and she’s off to college, an independent, grown-up, full-sized human… I know, I know, I’m overreacting. Look, it’s just that she’s going to school twice a week now for five hours at a time with a back pack, a lunch box and a binder filled with phonics worksheets! Today when she got home from school, she was so pumped… just flitting around the room like Tinkerbell and when I asked her for a hug, I didn’t get one… (pause for dramatic effect)

Sorry, I’m a bit emotional as I type this… it just feels like I’m already losing my little girl. I mean, she’s not so little anymore. She’s getting tall. She’s not so much adorable anymore as she is just really pretty. She has real-live knuckles on her hands instead of those little pseudo-knuckle dimples that babies and toddlers have. She’s got attitudes, opinions and tastes. She has favorite songs that are different from my favorites, and she has started to ask really hard and really awkward questions! I can’t believe she’s almost five! I just can’t believe it! Where did all those years go? And, did I do okay? Did I mess her up? Does she know how crazy I am about her?

I don’t have too many really clear memories from before Kindergarten, and now it seems that all those years from Elementary school through marriage just zoomed by so fast! How fast are these years going to go with Anna? Today, when I asked for that hug and didn’t get it, I realized something: For the rest of my life, I will be letting go. I am going to spend the rest of this thing turning loose of hugs and kisses, tickles and story time. Before I am ready I’ll hear that question dreaded by all daddies of little girls… “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” Whoa, I know I’m jumping the gun here, but hang with me…

At first, when faced with the fact that my baby is almost five, I freaked out, but I’m okay now because this is actually a good thing. It’s good and it’s right. I want her to grow and to move on into whatever is next. I am okay with letting go of this life. I am okay with turning loose my daughters’ hands, my metabolism and (maybe one day) my hair. Life is about letting go. For the Christian, life is all about turning loose. It’s actually how we gain everything. Jesus said, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” Real life comes from turning loose all the stuff that would keep me rooted in this world where I am just a pilgrim passing through… letting go of my pride, my rights, my love of things and my dependence on money… letting go of anger, fear and independence.

As scary as it seems, I think I’m ready to turn loose. I’m ready to let my little girl grow up, (as if I could stop her) and become the woman God is making her into. After all, in just a little while, we’ll all be letting go of this life to enter the eternity we were made for where I won’t really be Anna’s Daddy anymore… in those happy days, I’ll have the incredible honor of just being Anna’s brother, forever.

Well, at least one of 'em is still just a little baby girl:

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