Not a day goes by without at least one person asking me some form of the question, “Aren’t you worried to let her go to college?”
What they really mean is: “Aren’t you scared to let your paraplegic daughter move out of your house?”
And my answer is always the same, “No, I’m not. I’m actually very happy and excited for her!”
Sometimes I don’t think I give the answer people want to hear. I can tell by the disappointed or uncertain look on their faces. I can’t really figure it out. Do the majority of folks want me to say I’m terrified or scared or nervous because they are (or were) terrified or scared or nervous about their own able-bodied child heading off to college, and it seems odd that the paraplegic young adult’s mom is less worried than them?
That’s just a theory. My husband says I’ve analyzed it way too much. I guess when you are literally asked the same question multiple times per day you start to think about it a lot.
I am such a freak. After our wreck, my daughter waited three days for her surgery because doctors weren’t sure of the depth of her internal organ damage. That was terrifying. As my family left to go to the hospital leaving me alone in the wrecked van I was fairly certain I would die and my daughter was paralyzed for life. That was a bit scary. Having to help my fifteen year old daughter work through the death of almost everything normal is one of the gravest situations I’ve ever been a part of and it never. . . lets. . . up. Everyday there’s some new heartbreak or exclusion in her life. Yes, praying I’m helping her handle these daily battles competently makes me nervous.
So going to college? Well, it seems a bit minor compared to what we’ve been through. I believe parents long for a false sense of security. We want to pretend if we are present, nothing will harm our children. I learned on a sunny, beautiful day on a West Virginia highway, horrible can happen to my children even if both Chad and I are literally right there. The night of the wreck, Alissa wondered if she would ever be able to attend college and I couldn’t honestly answer yes because the verdict was still out.
But three years later she can go to college! And she is going to college! And why in the world would I be sad and mopey about that? At least at college she’ll be surrounded by people; good people. Please understand I save a little bit of my worry for on down the road. What if she gets a job in an urban area far away from us? How will she handle all of that on her own? Who will help her? Who will she be able to trust? How will she ever find a place to live which is 100% accessible? What happens when she is old and Chad and I are dead and she’s not as physically strong as she is now? And then I have to ask myself, “Do I trust God or do I not trust God? If He loves my daughter even more than me don’t I think He can probably handle her life without me and my worries?”
No, I’m not worried about college. Will I cry when it’s time to leave after we’ve helped Alissa set up her dorm room? Yes. I teared up just typing that sentence. But this is exactly who and what she’s been raised to be. We raised her to follow God’s plan for her life. We raised her to be bold and independent and strong and to enjoy life. We raised her to not stay cloistered to her parents and sibling but to go out in this world and live life wherever God has planned. We raised her to meet challenges head on trusting in the Lord every step or roll of the journey. And by golly, not even Satan and his stupid paralysis can stop her from digging her roots into the Lord and spreading her wings and flying for Him!
My daughter going to college isn’t sad. It is an absolute celebration!
Until next Wednesday, Lord willing.