When I pulled into the driveway after dropping her older sister off at Kindergarten for her first day of school and stopped the car, she said with such a precious pout, “I miss Abby too much!” My youngest daughter, Lucy, was barely two-years old. I scooped her up into my arms and we went inside to cuddle and miss her sister.

That was over nine years ago when she was barely two years old. I remember such sorrow on her face as she realized she’d be alone all day without a playmate. I remember how the day seemed to stretch forever. Six hours. The longest the two of them had ever been separated. The longest the two of us had ever been separated.

We passed the time with cuddles, books and a little Barney. I don’t remember much more about that day other than how long it seemed that we had to wait to be able to reunite with my oldest child. I couldn’t wait to hear all about her first day.  Did she like her teacher? Did she meet any new friends? What did she do? What did she eat? Did she play outside?

It was like waiting for molasses.

And then I blinked.

Today that sweet 2-year-old missing her sister on her first day of Kindergarten graduated from elementary school. Nine years of science fair projects, forgotten homework, math assignments and field trip forms passed by faster than the first 6 hours of their elementary school lives. It’s amazing how you don’t see it happening while you’re in the middle of it, but when it’s over you are flooded with memories too many to count.

She kept finding my gaze today as I sat there in the assembly and watching her spread her little wings. She wanted me to cry, because let’s face it, that is something I am really good at. And she thinks it means I love her if I do.  But I couldn’t.  Not while watching her laugh with her friends and stand up to be recognized for all she has been able to accomplish since the first day we walked through those doors 9 years ago and we started this journey. How can a mother cry when she sees her child so happy, well-rounded and blessed?

Because it’s not really the end at all. It’s just a chapter in her life. And she’s just been handed the pen to write the next one.

Lucy after her 5th grade graduation

Bethany Donham

Bethany E. Donham is married to her high school sweetheart and the mother of two beautiful teenage girls. She is a full time Minister to Preschoolers and Families, but has a passion for guiding others to see the world with a Biblical perspective through her writing.

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