I am sitting on my couch after saying goodbye to my oldest redhead.
My adopted college kid Kylie.
I'm so glad I waited to cry until she left.
The one I taught in kindergarten.
The one who was my favorite student. (yeah, I know teachers shouldn't have favorites, but this little red-head wearing her ruffly dress waltzed into my classroom and squirmed her way into my heart forever.)
The one who got me going to her church. which was pivotal in my relationship with the Lord--we ended up attending church together for 14 years.
The one who babysat my children and changed their diapers and played endless games with them.
The one who comes over every Christmas Eve for the annual pic with all my kids.
The one who took my children out for ice cream and shopping trips.
The one who invited us to her high school graduation at which she gave the commencement speech.
The one who came to my house in tears with boyfriend break-ups. (yeah, that guy is LONG gone)
The one who traveled to China with us the first time, and witnessed first-hand the miracle of Kimmie and Quan becoming grafted into our family.
The one who said YES to going to China with us even though she was beginning college just days after returning home.
The one who we got to see be crowned "Miss University of Mobile", and later that summer we got to attend every preliminary night of her debut in the "Miss Alabama" pageant.
The one who went to Disney World with us one week before the Miss Alabama pageant. One week she was drenched in a poncho at Animal Kingdom, the next she was in her sequins and heels, walking across the stage. (that's how she rolls...)
The one who picked Carlie, her red-headed sister and my biological baby, to be her Rising Star in the pageant. The one who walked with Carlie on the stage with matchless confidence and poise.
The one we got to see present her Miss UM crown to the new reigning Miss UM one year later, and who shined her light for Jesus as she said good-bye to that particular season of her life and ushered in a new season with courage and faith that moves mountains.
The one who showed up at the Rockathon disguised as a mysterious party crasher and about made her 39 yr. old (at the time) kindergarten teacher wet her pants.
The one who called to tell us that she is in love with her best friend, Brad. And he is in love with her too. And we adore him.
The one who has gone on countless beach trips with us.
The one who would never in a million years participate in any kind of summer church camp folly.
The one we got to help move out of her dorm room, out of the University, out of college life forever.
The one we got to yell for as she crossed the stage at her college graduation.
The one who spent 4th of July with us and went tubing with her 40 yr. old kindergarten teacher. The one who was merciless as her 40 yr. old kindergarten teacher was about to toss her cookies on the ride. The one who so 'graciously' said "DONT THROW UP ON ME!"
The one who despite being jobless, took a huge leap of obedience and faith and went on a mission trip with our family this summer, a mission trip that changed all of our lives forever.
The one who came to our dinner at the pool two nights ago, wondering what God had in store for her life. Would she get a teaching job? What should she do?
The one who got her first teaching job this morning.
The one who will be moving tomorrow (yes I said tomorrow) 5 hours south of us to be a new 3rd grade teacher.
The one who left my house today with her signature smile, thumbs up, red hair flying, sporting her t-shirt and gym shorts, on to begin a new season of life. Adult life, this time. Real life.
The one who just yesterday was raising her little 'teacher's pet' hand and saying "Mrs. Ferrill, Mrs. Ferrill!" Wasn't it yesterday?
Kylie, we are SO excited for you! In Carlie's exact words as soon as you walked out of my door this afternoon, "It's really sad and happy all at the same time." We are so BLESSED and privileged to call you our daughter and sister. We KNOW we will see you LOTS...it's just a new season, and sometimes when the seasons change, we get a tad nostalgic. And weepy. But all of us did really good, didn't we? Nobody cried! (until you left)
You will ALWAYS have a spot in the family picture! :)