Off to college

We had a bittersweet rite of passage this weekend, taking our eldest child off to college. Josie will be attending Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri, majoring in Biblical Communication. She’s now a fair distance (almost 400 miles) from us and we have to adjust to being a household of three instead of four.

It’s exciting to see Josie taking her first steps into the world beyond our home. It’s also a bit scary because we know how tough that world can be. She’s strong and we know she can do it, but she’ll always be our little girl, so we want to be right there for everything.

Life doesn’t work that way, though, and the time has come for us to let go. It’s not easy. I miss her already, and not just because she’s so much fun to tease. She had turned into a smart, independent young woman more than capable of taking care of herself. Angela and I are very proud of her.

There were plenty of tears when we parted on Saturday morning, mostly between Josie and Angela but my eyes were a little wet, too. Just like that, she’s off to college and we’re facing the beginning of the end of raising our kids. Jimmy is about to turn sixteen and is starting his junior year of high school on Monday. That means less than two years until another graduation and the start of his next phase. That one’s going to be harder, I think, because after that we’ll be empty nesters. How did this happen so quickly?

I like to tell this story about bringing Josie home from the hospital after she was born. We were in the hospital room, waiting for the staff to get all the paperwork done so we could actually leave. When I say ‘ready’, I mean packed, dressed, and in the wheelchair just waiting for the go-ahead. Angela and I looked at each other and both said something to the effect of “They’re letting us take this little baby out of here by ourselves? Are they nuts?”

They let us. Somehow, we got it right.

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