She edges closer to the door, activating the checklist in my mind.
“Here, take the GPS. And your cell phone charger.” I pile both items onto her schoolbooks. She opens the door with the only empty finger she has left.
“I only have $20. Take that with you, but keep it hidden. And make sure you have your debit card. And don’t wait too late to get gas.”
“Thanks. I need to go. I’m about to be late for school. But thanks.” She dares to turn away from me.
I follow her to the car.
“There’s a blanket and pillow in the trunk, in case you get stranded. And the roadside assistance number is on your key chain. And keep some snacks with you, just in case.”
She acknowledges me with a you-can-stop-talking-now-but-you-probably-won’t kind of smile. We both yield to the power of the last-minute parental advice.
“I know, Mom. I’ll see you on Monday. I’ll be fine.”
“Don’t pick up any hitchhikers. I know you want to help them, but they may want to hurt you.”
“I know. School is going to start without me. Have a great weekend.”
I watch as she pulls out of the driveway, adjusting her music to the appropriate volume for singing along. She waves; that same wave she gave when she was five and experimenting with her first set of roller skates.
Maybe it’s the combination of the driver’s license, the last few months of her senior year, or the recent phone call from the side of the road where she and a friend had been rear-ended in her friend’s car. “We’ve been in a slight fender bender, but I’m fine. Here. The police want to talk to you.”
Maybe it’s the knowledge that some dear friends just received that same phone call, but with a terribly tragic outcome.
Whatever it was, there was no immediate reason for the tears that fell freely once she was gone. But they fell from places in a mother’s heart that we often try to protect, even in the midst of our cautions and annoying ways of planning ahead. It’s rare that we allow ourselves to go to the depths of that place that force us to consider all the possibilities of what could happen to our children once they walk out our doors.
I state the obvious to myself, long after she is gone.
“The thing is that I need for you to be okay. No matter what.”
That’s really the crux of the prayers that began long before she was born.
Do I trust God with the security detail of my daughter; of His daughter? Absolutely. But does it hurt to give Him a few reminders along the way?
He is used to me by now. It’s an ongoing conversation.
“God, will you provide a way for her to go to college? And show her where to go? Provide a wonderful Christian husband who will lead and take care of her? Will you keep her from harm, and protect her from all sorts of evil?”
He answers. “I will never leave her.”
“Well, okay, but I guess I’d rather her not ever get hurt. Can you take care of that for me?”
“No. Life doesn’t work that way. You already know this.” He lovingly chides me.
I sigh. “True. But, what if she forgot how to use those jumper cables?”
He shakes his head, and together we go inside.
Turning over the keys is tough on a parent.
I guess He felt the same way when He turned her over to me.