Dear Elisabeth (on your first day of 10th grade)…

Today, two of your teachers announced that theirs is the hardest class in high school. For the rest of us, this warning would worry us. But you love a challenge. Love it.

Case in point, lifeguarding defined your summer. You heard the city pool needed guards, and the next thing we knew, you were neck-deep (literally) in hours of training.

Just like that, you were gone. Even though this is our hottest summer on record, the space you left at home felt cold. We all missed you so much. You navigated this new world of 10-hour days in your red bathing suit with your usual wit and determination.

El, you jump in head-first. You always have. This is a delight—and also an incredible worry. I can feel you becoming independent.

I realize the mama drama of “DON’T GROW UP” is toxic and stupid. Of course, grow up. What’s the alternative? Live with me forever? Stay small because I need you? That’s terrible.

And yet. With you as my daughter, El? I totally get the instinct to hold on.

I will never say I blinked and missed you growing up. I’m always so aware that you are not mine. You are wholly and completely the Lord’s. Always have been. 

I am so honored I get a front-row seat to you watch you grow into this incredible adult. 

Here we go. Sophomore year. 

Only 1,009 days left. I’m here for every one of them.

I love you so much, El.

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