One frog said to the other one, “Times fun when you’re having flies.” Well, time flies when you’re having fun too. I couldn’t believe how fast our daughter grew up. I told my wife it couldn’t happen fast enough. Rachael had been eating our food, driving our car and keeping us up late for years. “The moment you graduate your furniture will be on the front lawn,” I told her. “We’ll have sold the place and moved to Tuktoyaktuk where the real estate is cheap. “Oh Daddy,” she smiled. And my heart melted.
But imagine the glorious freedom of having an empty nest. We can watch movies that were best before 1960, and play our music loud. Old hymns at deafening levels. On graduation day, Rachael took center stage to deliver the valedictory address. “Our class is going to do amazing things,” she began, “We are going to be rich. Famous. We are going to turn this world upside-down with our impeccable charm, and our fashion sense. When I was a little girl, these were the things I thought characterized graduates. Happily ever after. Wish upon a star. But I’m starting to find out those dreams were too small.
“The motto our class chose at this Christian school is ‘To the Ends of the Earth.’ I’ve been reading of missionaries who packed their belongings in a coffin when they left home, fully expecting never to return. Some of us may go to Africa or China. Others will end up in Moose Jaw, or Seattle, or London. It’s my prayer that we’ll serve Him wherever we are.” Is this the little girl I cuddled and loved? All grown up and a preacher too? Last week she was showing us finger-paintings. This week she’ll show us her diploma. “This class is going to do amazing things,” she said. “We can turn this world upside down with the love of God, because His strength is made perfect in weakness.” Afterwards more than a hundred people visited our house to celebrate and thank her for her speech. After the last one left I told my wife of the glorious freedom we are about to experience. Of dinners alone. The savings.
Then why these tears as we stood looking at Rachael’s empty room? The Winnie The Pooh border. The carpet scarred by nail polish remover. I’d gladly trade every carpet in the house for an evening when she sat on my lap begging for one more story, one more piggy back ride, one more hug goodnight. Ah, memories. And so we give thanks to God. We thank Him for the wisdom to make memories over money. And that we have one child left at home. That’s him now. He and his friends are lugging guitars and drums and heavy amplifiers down the stairs, carving more memory marks in the walls.
I think I’ll sneak downstairs and throw the main breaker. Then move to Tuktoyaktuk.
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