I wondered if I’d told my daughter everything she needed to know. I stood on the dorm steps and gave her one more last hug and kiss. I’d only had eighteen years with her and at that moment it didn’t seem near long enough.
She pressed a letter into my hand and said, “Promise you won’t read it until you get back to the hotel room.”
Memories of a baby asleep in her crib, tea parties, piano recitals, and giggle-filled sleepovers cascaded through my mind. There must be a script or special recitation for moments like this. Instead, I just stood back and looked at her through my tears. I nodded, unable to talk even if I could think of anything to fill the empty space growing between us.
Back at the hotel room, I made coffee and settled down to read my daughter’s farewell note.
It felt good that she appreciated all of the things I did as her mom. She had her memories, too. My daughter described special outings, family vacations and game nights. She was my drama queen and she recalled times that the two of us often stole away to live performances and productions in town. We could always talk, late into the night.
Her note ended with, “Thank you for giving me wings! Deuteronomy 32:11”
Grabbing my Bible I rustled through the pages.
Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,
That hovers over its young,
He spreads His wings and caught them,
He carried them on His pinions.
Laughing to myself, I understood her final message. I often told my daughter the story of the mother eagle.
Expecting young, the eagle prepares a down filled nest high in a rocky crag for protection. The eggs are laid and soon hatch. Early weeks find the mother eagle busy bringing food to her hatchlings. When the time is right the eagle begins to stir her nest.
She snatches the soft lining, leaving only sharp rocks and sticks beneath the eaglets. The wobbly babies hop to the edge of the nest, perching precariously. Mother eagle then does the unthinkable. She swoops down knocking one of the young to tumble down through the cavern. Untested in flight the eaglet struggles and begins to flap its wings. The mother eagle is not far away as she spreads her wings to swoop under her fledgling and catch him up for another trial flight.
The young eagle is soon flying. He finds his wings.
I knew my daughter would make it in college and in life. And I would, too. God would always be there to swoop under her and lift her back up. He was also the one who would go with me as I returned home to my empty nest.
Rhodema Cargill lives the parenting adventure with Calvin, her college sweetheart. They have two adult daughters and two teenagers still at home, a girl and a boy. Their homeschool style is eclectic with a great love of living history books. Rhodema is a freelance writer and speaker. Visit with her on her blog: MommyLife.