So. There was a birthday. She's now 19.
And we went out to eat as a family. We sat down on a bench to take a picture and my thoughts whispered, "This is the last time for a while we can all sit together." And my soul got tight and my eyes got blurry.
And then we were off. Headed to Idaho. All the way from Texas. A 25 hour drive. Good times. No really, sometimes when you're stuck together, cramped in a small space, it can be great. Exhausting, but great.
We unloaded, unpacked, sorted and put away in her new dorm room. BYU Idaho is now her home.
We hiked through campus and bought her enough groceries to last 3 months. We ate dinner together, just one last time. I could barely swallow.
I've done hard things in my life. I held my dad's hand as he died. And saying goodbye to my daughter, my heart, was one of the hardest. Driving away and leaving her behind made me unravel. I gave myself a good 3 hours to lose it. And then I sucked in a breath and got it together.
Another 25 hour drive and we're back home again. But it's different now. There's a different feel to the house, a flow that's slightly off-kilter. We are now a home of 4. That's something to adjust to. At some point I'll walk in her room. Just not in the near future.
She's in a great place at a terrific time in her life. I'm excited for all she will see and do and how she will come into her own. My sister gave me the greatest advice that I have tethered myself to, "She is made for greater things. Now let her go do them." And so I will.