Dear Grace,

I miss you.  I know it hasn’t been a whole week yet, but I do.  I miss you like the sun would miss the moon, or the waves would miss the shore.  For 18 years, we have been companion forces of the universe, rising and falling in time, coming and going together.  But now, you are moving in your own direction, in your own time, as you should; and I miss you.

This morning, the house is quiet.  I passed your empty room, and my heart got heavy.  It will be months before you sleep here again.  You will be so busy making friends, navigating roommate issues, adjusting to college classes, learning how to eat from a cafeteria every day (and possibly learning how to drink shots).  I know you will do great – we have watched you conquer obstacles your whole life, and there is nothing you can’t do.

I will miss your beautiful face, and the radiance that surrounds you wherever you are.  I will miss your sparkling eyes, wide open to the world of possibilities that lie in your future.  I will miss your laughter – crazy, loud, quirky, and totally joy-filled.I will miss your index card of personal goals, taped to the inside of your closet door, “hidden” from the rest of us.  I will miss it because it listed things like the books you want to read, the songs you want to learn on the guitar, and that you want to be “good tired” at the end of each day.  I will miss the spirit that makes a young person write that list.

I will miss your intense focus, and righteous commitment to the good in others, and your love of chocolate ice cream.  I will miss how grateful you were for a good dinner, and I will even miss how disappointed you were when I couldn’t get that dinner together.  Somehow, your expectation that I should do that every night tells me you think I’m reliable, dependable, creating a healthy home.  I will miss how I think you think of me, and how that makes me try to be a better person.

I will miss your home-made trail mix, and your color-coded notes, and your habit of singing when you are scared.  I will miss your wallet and keys on the kitchen counter, and going out for ice-cream, and watching you perform at school recitals.  I will miss seeing you in your bed, late at night, wet hair tied up, purple glasses on your face, with your baby blanket tucked under your chin, reading a good book.  And yes, I will even miss the heaping mess of clothes and shoes and books and papers and wrappers and boxes and bags on your bedroom floor.  Although you live like a hamster, I love that you defend the conditions for the “coziness” you say it makes you feel.

Leaving you at college was hard.  Not because I fear you will never come home, or that I fear you will get hurt (although both of those possibilities have occurred to me, and they do make me fret…).  It was hard because I know our life at home will never be the same again, and I have enjoyed our time together so immensely.  You are doing exactly what we have always hoped and dreamed you would do.  You are growing up.  And I miss you.

We watched you take those first steps on campus, a little nervous, a little unsure.  Then your stride grew stronger, longer, as you saw that you knew what to do, where to go, how to be.  We were holding you back, getting in the way.  You know that what we want, what we have always wanted with our whole hearts, is for you to be happy.  And now, that means that you will go it alone.  You don’t need us to stand beside you anymore.  You don’t need us to push you along.  You are ready to fly!  Don’t let us hold you back.  Don’t let us distract you.  Go and do every single thing that you can think of, and do it with all you’ve got!  Sweet Grace, all my life I’ve lived for loving you.  Let me go now.

4 replies on “To Grace, From Mom – A Love Letter”

  1. Beautiful letter. As a mom of 3 grown children I think these first few weeks after sending them to college were some of my hardest and proudest moments. Why can’t they stay little just a bit longer.

  2. Grace read my article today, and called to say thank you, and she loves me, too. Icing on the cake of life. 🙂 Just want to let you all know it ain’t all bad. 🙂

  3. Beautiful! I could not have encapsulating the emotions better, which is why I wrote my own version of your “Dear Grace” letter to my freshman daughter who responded via text, “Now I’m crying in the library lol. I love you Mommy” Thank you for making me stop what I was doing to reflect back on all the wonderful memories I have shared with my precious daughter and why she is so loved! You have a gift!

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