Friday, August 18, 2006

College, Are You Ready For Jessica?

Monday, August 21, 2006 starts a new chapter in my baby's life. She will begin her college career as a freshman at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas. There are so many emotions and feelings tumbling around inside this Mama's heart and head as I type this. Fear. Pride. Lots of pride. A sense of loss for my baby girl that's now a beautiful, confident young woman. So much love for her that I'm just bursting with it. And I think with the love, anticipation. Anticipation for what my baby is becoming.

All her life my baby girl has been becoming. Becoming a toddler, then a little girl. Becoming a teenager, and now a young woman in college. Becoming. With her becoming a young woman, our relationship is becoming, too. Changing. I think Jessica will agree with me that right now we probably have the best relationship we've ever had. I'm learning to relate to her as a young woman, not just my little girl, and she's learning to relate to me as a woman, and not just her Mom. Even as I am so proud of her as a young adult, I miss the baby Jessica, the preteen Jessica, the high school Jessica.

I know the phrase and the sentiment is probably overused, but she really won't understand this Mother's heart until she has children of her own. She won't understand the nights sitting up with a sick child, wishing you could take their pain and illness upon yourself rather than see them suffer. She won't understand watching your child weeping, broken hearted from a broken friendship. And later on, weeping over breaking up with a boyfriend. She won't understand watching your child move out on her own, hoping and praying she'll stay on that straight and narrow way. Praying, praying, praying. I know she understands as much as she can from her perspective, but only a Mother's heart truly understands. Mary understands, God bless her. Many more of you understand, and are either facing this yourself, or have already gone through it. Have we equipped our kids with everything they need to know to become happy, successful young adults? Did we do our best to instill in them good qualities to live by? Time will tell.

It's time for you to make your own way in the world, baby girl. Time for you to fail or succeed by your own decisions. Time for you to become all that you're willing to work toward. Time to see what you make of this thing called "Jessica's Life". I can't promise not to worry about you at times, not to miss you and long to see you, spend time with you, hear your voice. But I can promise to always love you, be proud of you, want only the best for you, and be your strongest supporter, your biggest fan, your Mama. Always your Mama, even when God blesses you with children of your own. No matter how old we may be, you will always be my baby, and I will always be your Mama. Never forget that as you make your way in the world. All roads lead back to Mama, and I'll always be happy to see you.

You've been raised in church since you were 5 days old. Don't forget what you were taught. Live for God, serve Him, and He'll bless you for it.

Mama loves you, Jessica Rose.
I'm in the midst of getting some things done in preparation for an overnight trip tonight. I'll be gone from this afternoon until Saturday afternoon for a women's retreat with some ladies from my church, along with a bunch of other ladies from churches in our association. There'll be some singing, some worshiping, some Bible study, some laughing and some eating. The place we'll be retreating to is in the Ozark Mountains just outside of Imboden, Arkansas. If you can imagine, we'll be in a lodge used for our children's and youth summer camps. Think bunk beds and communal showers and bathrooms. Think women of all ages, giggling like teenagers and having a grand time. I hope it's all I've built it up to be in my mind. I am doubly blessed in that 2 of my sisters that are also my sisters in Christ will be going on this retreat, too. Ducky and Sue and I always have a good time together, and I can't imagine that we won't have a grand time together on this retreat.Brenda is celebrating reaching 100 posts with a list of 100 Things about her. If you haven't already visited her, drop by and leave her a comment. You'll enjoy her list, I did. BooMama has a great list of posts she's enjoyed reading lately. Barb has a birthday today, and her sister, Bev, has a lovely birthday tribute on her blog, complete with pictures. Sue has a moving memorial to her late Mother in Law, Jen, that is worthy of your time. There are many more bloggers with some good posts. Check out any of the bloggers in my blogroll, and if you'll notice, there's something new I've added to my sidebar. I joined Lauren's Family Friendly Blogroll. She blogs at
Created For His Glory, and bloggers who join the FF blogroll pledge to have only material that is appropriate for family viewing and reading on their blogs. No foul language in the blog or comments. Surf through some of the FF blogroll if you're searching for some worthy blogs.

Well, I've been up so late it's now early. I have much to do to get ready for my trip, so I'll close this by wishing everyone a good Friday, and a great weekend. I'll be back for my weekly Sunday Dinner post if not before then. Love and blessings to all.

24 comments:

Meow said...

I hope it all goes smoothly and wonderfully for Jessica on her first day in College (and all other days thereafter, too, of course). It must be a strange feeling as a mum, to watch your child become so grown up almost suddenly !!
Have a great weekend.
Take care, Meow

Shelley said...

What a sweet tribute to your daughter. She's so beautiful! Tell her congratulations on continuing her education and the university. I know you are proud, but it can be a little emotional when they grow up and leave home. Sigh.

Have a good weekend Diane.

"The Glenifer" said...

Everything you wrote about Jessica is so touching! She's a lucky girl, and I know you are so proud.

I started to write a long comment about your last post, but I had so many thoughts running around that I decided to save them for when we get to meet in person. I'm more of a talker than a typer, anyway. :)

Glen's got a bum knee that he's going to the doctor about Wednesday, and he'll probably have surgery, but after that, I'm coming to Arkansas for a visit, and I'm looking forward to hanging out with you!

Have fun on your retreat!
Love, Jenn

Andre said...

Hi Momma Jennings!

Your 'ode to the collegiate daughter was amazing! It sort of made me visualize my mother's reaction to me starting and finishing college. I suppose that it's all apart of the joy, pain, joy, pain, joy associated with parenthood. But your vivid and emotion-laced description should be a validation to the world, Jess especially, that she's got an MONSTEROUS support system. *Are you interested in taking me in...?*

As the title of this post suggests, ASU is going to be in for a really treat by having Jess there. I mean, she came from your womb! ASU getting braced for Jessica is like them getting braced for YOU! Are they ready?! Can they handle it?!

Have a great time at the retreat! Stay blessed!

Blessed Beyond Measure said...

I love that no matter how often, or seldom, you post, when you do it's worth the run-over. Thanks for the plug for Barb's bday hug; after a certain age the best part of a bday is all the cards, calls, and now blog visits.

I suspect you'll miss that little girl of yours, I loved reading your wisdom on seeing each other differently. I knew my daughters had grown up when they began to see me as something other than a mother. xoxoxo

momteacherfriend said...

You made me tear up. What a beuatiful thing to write about. I hope she gets to experience the joys of motherhood so that she may truly know how much she is loved.

deandean1174 said...

i wish jj the best in life,it doesnt seem like she should be old enough to be going on to college,and i wish you the best to aunt diane we love you and miss you love dean dean

Sue said...

Diane,
I remember those days when my children were just beginning to live life on their own apart from me. Such a mixture of emotions. You've captured all that perfectly in this post. I know that with the wonderful values you've instilled, Jessica will do just fine.
Thanks so much for the link to my post today. My MIL was a special lady...
Enjoy your weekend...
{{hugs}}

Big Mama said...

Diane, this was such a sweet post about Jessica. I know she'll do great because she's had a mama like you to guide her and show her the way.

Dick said...

The time when our children head out on their own sure is a hard time on we parents. Until then our lives have revolved around them. Now we are expected to step into the background. When you think about the process it is really what we want. For them to blossem and get out on their own, create their own success. Eventually give us grandchildren. But, it is still a hard time for the parent to get through.

Tammy said...

Hey Diane,
Just thought I would drop by while my cake is cooling...
I loved the pic's of your daughter and the one of you and her together!!
(((hugs)))

Barb said...

Diane, the first part of this post, the part about Jessica, is, in my opinion worth of a perfect post award. You expressed perfectly the feelings we moms experience at the milestones in our daughters' lives. Yes, she's still becoming. Buy oh my word how proud of her you must be.

The mother-daughter thing never stops changing. As we all flow through the stages of our lives the relationship adjusts itself to fit itself perfectly into the present. Sons are wonderful in their own way, but how blessed we are to have our daughters. xoxoxo

Granny said...

I lost track of you somehow. Darn.

She's a beautiful girl and how lucky she'll be attending school close to home.

Val said...

A great collection of photos showcasing your daughter's formative years, years in which she has become a lovely and capable woman thanks to your excellent mothering. Courage to you, Diane, in this time of letting go.

PEA said...

I so enjoyed this post, you certainly did put into words what every mother feels when her son/daughter grows up and moves out! My oldest son moved out 5 years ago, my youngest over a year ago...I miss them, I still worry about them, etc, but God willing, I raised them right and they will do fine in life. So far...so good:-) Hugs xoxo

owlhaven said...

Wishing your sweetie all the best!!!

Mary, mom to another college freshman

Connie and Rob said...

I think you can trust you did a wonderful job with Jessica. She sounds as sweet on the inside and much a the brands of ice cream at Walgreens.

Hugs,
Connie

Dawn said...

I'll never forget my parents taking me, their firstborn of five, to college. I was having such fun that I forgot I needed to go down to the car with them and see them off. I didn't think of what a trauma this was for them. I learned, though, when we took ours to school at the very same place 28 years later. The tears on the way home were a great reminder. Best wishes to you and Jessica. I hope she loves it.

melissa said...

what a wonderful post.
i am from arkansas, south of pine bluff.

Jess said...

Mom, well I would have commented sooner for the tribute to me but the whole internet thing...andyways..migh I feel special...anyways you are very right our relationship right now is better than it has ever been..I think we have learned alot from each other and I know that I have learned to appreciate and respect you as a mother, momma, woman, and friend. Also, I have had to overcome the huge obstacle of admitting I am just like you, but just enough different to bump heads with you. I think that if we both weren't so stubborn headed, we wouldn't have such a good relationship now. Thank you for all of your wisdom, oh so much patience, and love. I will never forget what I have learned from you or from us butiing heads and from us getting along so well...its all been great. Love you mom, and by the way...Grandma Lue didn't do so bad herself...:)
I know you needed that!

Mountain Mama said...

I understand how you feel about your daughter growing up. Whenever I see mine I don't just see them at the age they are, but I see a combination of all the ages they have been.
Their baby years were so wonderful, dispite the dirty diapers!

squire said...

Lovely young lady. I am sure she will do quite well. They "soak in" a lot more than we think they do. I thought a lot of what I was saying to my son was wasted but I now see it coming out of him. It will be the same with her.

Dianne said...

Good luck to your daughter at ASU. My son is now a sophomore at Penn State U (annex), but he lives at home until next fall. It's really an exciting time in their lives. My son is my only child too. : )

Jeana said...

Love the pictures. She is beautiful!