Sweet memories tumble through my head and slowly spill out of my eyes as salty tears.

It was supposed to be just another one of my daily walks through the nearby lush green park, but it ended up being a walk down memory lane.

I saw her running through the playground, her dark hair that was skillfully pulled back with a big red bow was bouncing to the cadence of her tiny thumping footsteps.  She lingered in front of the brown metal stairway, placed her soft sweet tiny hand on the bar and looked up at her daddy. She slowly lifted her other hand to his and grinned.  When I heard her playful giggle waft up to her father’s dutiful ears and glide wistfully across the playground it tickled a memory … I was frozen in a distant time.

I was propelled backwards some 16 years to a day in the backyard of the tiny 1,400-square-foot home we moved to after I retired from my career and became a full-time mom.

My hubby had built our daughter a large wooden play set in the back yard.  The memory safely tucked into the recesses of my brain was propelled forward and I could see her little lively body, the long brown hair, the bow, her father and her complete delight in his creation of her very own back yard play set.  My memory is divinely crystal clear as I can see clearly her looking up at him, eyes wide with wonder, a smile curving on her lips and a loud cheerful giggle as he quickly stooped down and her little alabaster arms encircled his daddy neck.  She smothered him with kisses and shrieked with delight.

Suddenly my walk, became a stop and linger … in the memory.  I realized my cheeks were damp with tears and I heard myself softly sigh and wonder aloud, “Where have the years gone?”

My heart ached and I silently surrendered to the blessed assurance of God’s love as the creator of that giggle.

Father God, thank you for the privilege of being a mother to my delightful daughter for 18 years … I know you revel in her giggles much more than I.  As the arrow that is her life is launched may You guide her, protect her, draw her ever closer to You and give me the strength to let her go with gladness. I am forever thankful that as her head tilts upward now, it will be in gratefulness to the goodness of Your love and the assurance that she belongs to You … forever.

We want to know. Do you have young ones leaving the nest soon? Can we join with you in prayer for them? These courageous young men and women God is launching into the world… the ones we remember with Mama arms as babies and toddlers?