Friday, March 10, 2006


The time has come for me to sort through our family's pictures over the last eighteen years. Last night, I brought boxes, plastic sacks, and paper bags full of memories downstairs and put all of them in my dining room. I now have the daunting task of sorting them out according to month and year on the long table.

I promised myself that I would eventually get to those pictures and put them in order. Someday, I said. Well, that "someday" is here - all too soon. I always thought that this day would never come because it was so far off into the future - and now, all of the sudden, this day is here. Whatever happened to those days in between then and now?

I did a great job of putting them into TP's baby album, up until she turned a year old. Then, I barely had time to sneeze let alone trying my hand at scrap booking! Hence, the endless supply of bags and boxes of our family's life in pictures. TP's class is going to do a personal video of each of the 12 graduating seniors. I need to do a family album (well, albums) for the graduation party.

I have dreaded this day for two reasons. The first reason is fairly obvious - this task will be monumental. The second reason is easily understood - this will be bittersweet. I know I will be flooded with memories. And I will have the tissue box handy. .. . I'm getting a lump in my throat just thinking about this.

But an amazing thing is happening inside of me. I can actually feel myself letting go of TP. As her excitement grows over going to college, so does mine. As her independence stretches, I loosen the grip. As she makes decisions, I am amazed at her ability to weigh the pros and cons and how she uses her values to guide her through the process. She's ready to leave, and I stand back, and let her open that door. No, I take that back - I don't "let" her - I watch her as she goes forth through that opened door.

She'll be eighteen in ten days. A legal adult. But still my baby in my heart.


At 12:37 PM, Blogger Barbara said...


Your journey and mine are so close though your TP is a bit older than my Owen. He may be going to college in the North of England from September and, he is really excitied and I am the one with the problem...and it is not even definite that he will be going..

Why can't I follow my own advice and not worry about things that have not even happened yet?

I am, however, reassured that you have now reached that place of acceptance and hope that I will too, find this place.. I too have mentioned "letting go" in my last post, which I must have been typing as you left your last comment!!!

have a very blessed weekend and get some rest!!!

At 2:39 PM, Blogger echotig said...

I know its a daunting task because of all the memories that will wash over you when you have all those pictures laid out. You might have to clear a few days for it. A weekend perhaps.

I do this every year or so. I enjoy it. It gives me an excuse to go buy stuff to help me sort them out. You know, the cute photo storage boxes and albums and paper and all that.

Then later I go through the albums and enjoy how beautiful they were. Or cry . Whatever.

At 3:34 PM, Blogger Mrs. Diamond said...

that's how i felt when i took my eldest daughter to kindergarten...excited because she was excited.

i don't think i'll do so well when she actually leaves home. sniff.

At 4:44 PM, Blogger Stacy said...

Yea, the organizing pictures thing always takes longer then you think it will. You find an old one, sit and remember that day, show it to everyone else, talk about for 15 minutes, cry, blow your nose. So what are we looking at, at least 20 minutes a picture? Geez, it's going to take forever Val.

At 8:38 PM, Blogger My Kid's Mom said...

Barbara - I'll have to come over to your site and read what you've just written. I'm ALMOST to the "acceptance" phase, and one of the main reasons I am there is because of TP. She continues to amaze me with her maturity and faith. She'll be just fine out on her own. And I can't believe I just said that!

HI Echo - I just love your picture. Anyway, I wish I had done this all along. I have all the supplies I need (the cute storage boxes, etc) - I bought them in hopes of giving me incentive to do something about getting the pictures organized. Obviously, that didn't work!

Mrs. D - I think you'll do quite well when she gets to that stage - it's just hard to imagine it right now when she's at such a young age. But watch out - the time goes by ever too quickly!

Stacy - I've given myself a two minute and two tissue limit per picture. I should be done in the year 2010.

At 9:22 PM, Blogger Jackie said...

Everytime I come over here and read something that you have written about your girls, my heart smiles. They are so LUCKY that you are their mother. I know the personal stuggles that I went through with my mom, as I grew up and "left the nest" and even if they don't fully understand it, Your girls are BLESSED to have a understanding mother like you!

At 9:31 PM, Blogger Bethany said...

Ohhhh....looking at those baby pictures! My daughter is only eight yet my heart consticts at the sight of her pudgy 18 month old cheeks and her drooly 6 month old smiles!

I understand the bittersweet....and I cannot even think about my daughter turning's too scary!

But, from what I've read about you and both your daughters on your blog, they have turned out to be find women! I think she will do well!

God bless you!

(And really, if you start scrapbooking you'll never get all the pics organized but you will likely become addicted to the hobby! It's wonderful!)

At 10:02 PM, Blogger Jeff H said...

OK, time for a "guy" comment.

Have you considered scanning the pictures, so you can store copies of them digitally?

At 10:21 PM, Blogger JodiTucker said...

Such a wise and encouraging post!!
My daughter B (18 and freshman in college) is currently in Chicago at a Beth Moore conference designed specifically for college age ladies. How thrilled I am as her mum that she desires to attend this! Other daughter L (17, jr. in high school)is thinking about college and the future, etc. Just have to give them back to their initial Creator anyway----God!

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Hector said...

Enjoy and savor the moment! It is so good to be able to see the whole story at once. Two Christmas ago I made a DVD of the kids photos. it was a slide show with music and they loved it. It was their jouney from little ones to now. I could only do that after I organized them. Imagine the possibilities!

At 3:27 PM, Blogger echotig said...

The bad thing about technology is that now I want to take evey picture I own and scan it into my computer. Unframe everything...disassemble and reassemble all the albums. Copy everything to a disk and put it away somewhere for safe keeping.

If you do all that it could really take you 'til 2010!

At 9:36 PM, Blogger Cathy West said...

I am having a hard time letting go as well.
Sarah is 16 and when she graduates, she will only be 17. I think that is kind of young to be heading off to university. It has been my prayer that she might do a gap year, in some kind of ministry service before committing herself to the next four years of university and beyond, she wants to be a child psychologist...
God is working on her and my prayers will be answered I'm sure. But even letting her go to the Lord will be hard!! I dont' think I could have been Hannah, Samuel's mother, that's for sure!!!

At 5:16 PM, Blogger ukok said...

Letting go....who came up with that idea?

I can't believe that my daughter will be 15 and my son 11 this year. It's so hard to see them growing up so fast and to know that I have to let them spread their wings and fly someday soon :(

God Bless.

At 7:27 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

That's something that I also need to do. I was going through some pictures the other day of Mary when she was a baby. It seems like forever ago.

At 11:01 AM, Blogger Hikingalong said...

I'm going through the exact same thing but not only do I have to do one scrapbook for my 18 year old who's going off to college, I have to do another one for my 21 year old who's about to graduate at the end of April from college. I echo your sentiments exactly! What an emotional rollercoaster we're on!

At 5:39 PM, Blogger HeyJules said...

Val, you need to start putting up a "this is a three tissue" alert at the top of each post. Seriously, come up with a system so we know how bad we're going to get choked up when we read this darn beautiful wonderful blog!

At 5:43 PM, Blogger Paula said...

Just letting you know I'm thinking of you and dropped by for a visit/

Love ya,

At 12:33 AM, Blogger Darlene said...

I'm still in the in-between stage of yesterday and someday. I went through them all just yesterday and said, "One day when the kids are a little older we'll all sort these together!"

Enjoy your day. And your baby for 10 more days.

At 12:26 AM, Blogger About My Life said...

I found your blog tonight and I have been sitting here with tears running down my face as I read your post. My oldest child/daughter is a HS senior and leaving home this fall for college 8 hours away. I cannot even think about her leaving without crying. Like you, it is bittersweet because I want her to go forward with everything God has in store for her but the thought of her out of our home breaks my heart. It isn't helping that she feels called to be a missionary and plans to live in Europe eventually. Thank you for sharing your journey.


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