When she was a little older, we went to the beach. I was so excited to set up all her brand new Sesame Street beach toys and buckets and shovels. I envisioned Steve and I and my parents all sitting on the beach under our colorful umbrella, watching Madison with her little sunhat playing in the glistening sand. And...we did. For a short time. Until my little lady realized other families with small children were nearby. And my Madison was up...making her way to the nearest family...saying, "Hi! I'm Madison! Want to play with me?" And again...I smiled. And I cried inside. As much as I wanted to bury my nose in my book and pretend no one else existed, my girl wanted to make new friends. And so we did. And I realized...my girl wanted to go.
You see, I realized there on that beach, that my Madison was not just MY baby. As much as I longed for her to belong only to me, and share all my feelings and ideas, she was her own person. She had her own ideas and feelings and desires. When you are handed that sweet smelling bundle of joy in the hospital, you are filled with such emotion...joy, relief, thankfulness...and often, as I did, you may forget that this little person needs you to love her and feed her and change her and teach her and protect her. Yet she needs something else. She needs you to allow her to be her own person. To realize she does not belong to you as a doll filled with stuffing does. She is her own person. She has her own thoughts and desires. She may want different things than you do. And that is alright. It really is.
My Madison is grown now. She is no longer that curly haired little girl with the matching bows and sunhats. She is a beautiful, intelligent, independent young woman. And she still wants to go. She still wants to spread her wings and fly. She wants to go places, and meet people, and see new things. And that is what she is doing right now. And I could not be happier for her. : )
Last week, my girl flew across the ocean to spend a few weeks with her Nicolas and his family. She did it all by herself. She flew into a huge airport in New York City, and found and boarded a plane and flew to Denmark. All by herself. I am so proud of her for doing this...for going where her heart is leading her. And not being afraid. She went past the front yard...past the closest family on the beach...she went across the ocean and is experiencing so many new and wonderful things.
She is doing this without Steve and I by her side, but not without the love and faith and values we have shared with her throughout her life. And so...I am alright. I miss her like crazy. I look forward to every text and phone call. But my heart is happy. She found an amazing young man who loves her and takes care of her and protects her and who has a wonderful family who also loves her and cares for her, and who has welcomed her into their home. My girl has always wanted to go. And now...she has. She will return full of experiences and memories to hold on to and share. Until she goes again.
All set to go...
Grandma was there. Just as she was the day she was born. : )
Nicolas snapped this for me when she arrived in Denmark...before she even saw him. : )
My girl and her man.
Prayers for my girl and her safe return are welcome, my friends!