My Little Girl

When she came down the stairs for breakfast, I told her she’d kept me up all night. Claire quizzically looked at me. Our 18 year old daughter hadn’t done anything wrong. The home was at peace the night before; it was quiet through the night.

I had risen around 2 a.m. to go to the bathroom (too much information?). But something happened when I walked by her door back to our room; my brain turned my heart on. You see, Claire will be heading for college in about four months. And when she does, it won’t be to a school on the other side of town or to one across the mountains. It will be to a campus 1,500 miles away—I know because MapQuest already told me when I pecked in the address. Cell phones and texting and Skype will help but it won’t do. The smile, the hug, the joke, the talk, the daily “stuff” of family life is about to change. The cheery pink bedroom at the top of the stairs with the radio that’s always on is about to go dark—it’s about to go silent.

I know this is the way things are supposed to be. Children grow up, they become young men and young women. This is the way He made the family and this is the way of His world. But the thought of it still makes my heart sink.

Thirty-two years ago, my parents and I made the trek from Eastern Washington to Tacoma. It was a nice trip, as I remember. We took our time. We had lunch at Ivar’s in downtown Seattle. Then we finished our journey, ending up at Pacific Lutheran University. We checked into the dorm, hauled my bags up the stairs to the room marked “211” on the door. As I recall, my mom asked if she could make my bed. Then it was time for my parents to leave. There was some emotion, there was some hugs, there was some “I love yous” and then the Chevy Suburban pulled out of the lot. I would come to find out later my mom cried all the way home. I may not have understood then, but I understand now.

We are excited for Claire. She is so happy. The Christian school she’ll be attending seems to be a good place. Her world is about to get bigger and her faith is about to be put to the test. We believe she is ready.

It’s just that I’m not sure I am. I like hearing her call me “daddy.” I like taking her to school and later hearing about the “drama” that sometimes is apart of her day. I like her friends. I even like proofing her papers sometimes. I especially like her smile from the pew when I am preaching. But that’s all about to end. It is supposed to, it has to—yet I don’t want it to.

I’m going to ask my mom when she stopped crying.

Pastor Rich Hamlin

April 19, 2012


  1. You said it well….. 🙁 the emotions are real and sometimes too intense……as we know what you are going through……we pray…..we love you all.

  2. Thank you for sharing! We always know how Mom will feel but we forget daddy is loosing his baby too!

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