Two weeks ago today, Julia and I sat with a dear old/new friend in her lovely dining room with the huge, silver framed mirror, twirling delicious pasta around our forks like pros. The British sun, so evasive at times, even decided to make an appearance, casting shadows across the garden outside.
Meeting Sarah for the first time felt like a sacred privilege, and being in her home was like entering a sanctuary. A reprieve from the constant assault of travel.
As we chatted, getting to know one another in person for the first time, even though we had known each other virtually for about two years, Sarah asked my daughter a most pointed question:
“Aside from your parents, what has been the biggest influence on your faith?”
I sat, hushed, barely wanting to move as I quickly anticipated what she would say. I honestly had no idea.
She fiddled around the edges for a while, “Well, we have a great church, and I enjoy going to the youth group.” But that wasn’t really it.
“I have some really good friends.” But that wasn’t it either.
“I’d have to say, though, that the camp I go to has had the biggest influence on me over the years. I’ve been going since I was ten, and I’d say that my faith has grown the most through camp.”
It wasn’t the answer I thought it would be, but it was the most perfect answer possible.
Of course it was camp.
This morning I said goodbye to Julia and sent her off to camp for seven weeks. Seven weeks! Think about that for a minute.
What were you doing seven weeks ago?
I was finishing up a semester of teaching and getting ready for Kate’s graduation. Since then I have been to California and back, to England and back, and to the wedding of one of my dearest friend’s daughter.
Seven weeks is a long time.
In the next seven weeks I will, hopefully, get a lot of writing done, organize our basement, and spend a little time next to a lake.
I will also, most likely, watch as our oldest daughter moves out of our home for good.
I feel like I’m in a constant state of letting go.
Dear mama who might be reading this and wondering if it ever gets any easier: It doesn’t.
It’s never easy to let go, but it’s good.
And it’s right.
And it’s necessary.
Just a little pep talk to myself.