I woke up this morning and got ready, and then took my eldest child, my firstborn—to college. She and I went alone as she had some piano auditions and tests to do. I dropped her off and went back to get the rest of the family. We picked up some last minute things from a Target in Greenville. It’s funny how many “Bo-Jo’s” and their families we were able to pick out from the crowd. Picked up lunch from McDonald’s and drove back to BJU to have lunch with Ashley.
After dropping off last minute things for Ashley’s dorm room and having lunch, the inevitable came—the goodbyes. It brought back several memories—my own parents leaving their firstborn (me) as he started his college career; having to tell my future mother-in-law that she needed to just get in the van and go! as Trish would be fine at college; and especially this memory—a little over 18 years ago, I held a new born baby in my arms, our firstborn, Ashley Nicole Greenfield.
I distinctly remember holding her and thinking, “In 18 years or so, this little girl will be an adult and go out on her own. I have at least 18 years with her, to ‘train her up in the ways of the Lord.’” I knew those years would seem to go quickly, and on this side of it, they did. But we packed a lot of training in those 18 years! Ashley was with us as I finished college, commenced and finished my seminary training, my first pastorate, and then planting a church in Orwell.
Tonight I am in Charleston, WV. Tomorrow night I will be (Lord willing) in Orwell, OH. My daughter is in Greenville, SC, hundreds of miles away, and I won’t be seeing her until December. Our house and family will never be the same.
This is all part of the normal cycle of life—children are born, grow up, color their walls with markers (well, maybe not all children do that, but Ashley did, the little 1 ½ year old stinker!), enter and graduate from high school, and then start their adult lives. It’s a good thing, it really is. I thought that 18 years ago, and honestly looked forward to this day. I enjoyed this day, proud of my daughter. We watched her walk off away from the van to her next meeting. We drove away, with lots of tears in our eyes. I can’t help but cry now thinking of her because I do and will miss her.
We drove six hours from Greenville to Charleston, zig-zagging up and down through the mountains. Five more hours of driving await us tomorrow. I think most of us (except Lydia!) are ready to be home.