Monday, August 24, 2015

A Momma's Heart: Launching My First-Born to College

Kalin, Anthony and Me in front of Kalin's MTSU dorm
It's the day after we dropped my first-born Kalin off at college. 

I'm a little sad. (My baby boy has grown up and started a new season away from the nest.)

I'm a little bewildered. (How is that my baby boy has grown up so quickly?)

I'm a little nervous. (He's on a huge campus. Will he make it to all of his classes on time? Will he study hard? Will he eat at least one real meal today?)

But mostly I am very grateful. 

I'm grateful that I know Kalin was ready to be launched to college. (Oh sure -- he barely cleans his room; stays up way too late watching movies, writing lyrics and dropping beats; and sleeps in as late as humanly possible in the morning...) 

Yet I think of my red-headed boy today and see a mature, responsible young man who's had a clear direction in life for many, many years now. I see a young man who studies well, reads ravenously and takes school seriously.

I see a young man who loves his family deeply and respects his Dad and me wholeheartedly.

I also see a young man who adores his heavenly Father. Who began his walk with Christ at a very young age. Who through some minor rough patches and setbacks, has persevered and trusted God.

I see a young man that God will use on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University to His glory, just as He has in every other season of Kalin's life. 

That is my hope. That is my prayer. 

Kalin in his dorm with the whole Hendricks Clan and Aunt Shanera
Last week I'd planned to spend as much time with Kalin as possible, knowing that the summer was coming to a quick end. As life would have it, we both were extremely busy, and I barely got any time with him. 

But God allowed me to get some precious time with him during our trip to Tennessee this weekend. 

Kalin with his siblings -- Christian, Jada and Joelle. (They already miss Big Bro!)
A pic w/MTSU Pres. McPhee & wife (Btw I'm wearing my Mom's earrings & Kalin's wearing my Dad's shirt!)
I'll share one highlight...

But first a backdrop. So... many people know that Kalin has written and produced music for years. He produced his first album at age 14. This love of music has afforded him an "old soul" in respect to music, and he loves a lot of the "old" music his Dad and I love. 

Anyway... Kalin and I were riding down Highway 40 East towards Middle Tennessee together, enjoying Celine Dion's greatest hits. (Don't judge me...) Together we crooned "Because You Loved Me", "If You Ask Me To", "My Heart Will Go On" and all my BFF Celine's great songs. 

Then a song began that I couldn't place until a few lines in. After humming along for a bit, I realized it was "Dance With My Father" - the testimony of a woman who's lost her Daddy whom she adored. By the chorus, I was sobbing like I haven't in a while now, thinking of my Daddy who passed away earlier this year and whom I adored.

When I asked Kalin to grab some tissues for me, I noticed tears streaming down his freckled face too. He said he hadn't cried for Pop Pop like that since his funeral in January. It was a precious time for us to talk about life and loss, which often go hand-in-hand. It was a treasured moment, one that cemented my bond with Kalin just bit more.

And speaking of life and loss... As God would have it, MTSU's Convocation was yesterday. Yesterday was also my mother's birthday. My Mom also passed away earlier this year, just three weeks after my Daddy passed.  

With all this recent history of loss, the lyrics in "Dance with My Father" really touched me at my core. Especially these lines:

Sometimes I'd listen outside her door
And I'd hear how my mother cried for him
I pray for her even more than me
I pray for her even more than me...

I remember those days in the hospital, sitting beside my mother. I'd begged her to fight to stay with us. I'd prayed that the Lord wouldn't take her so soon after my Daddy. But she missed him too much. She told me she needed him.

I also remember whispering to her in ICU that she'd been a good Mom. That she'd lived a great life with purpose. That she could go on and be with Daddy. 

And with her heavenly Daddy.

It's no coincidence that we would launch our first son on the very day that we'd remember my Mom's first birthday without her. She would be so proud. She had been an educator during her entire career. My Dad had also been an educator for many years before his career as a business owner.

Today I am so proud of my Kman.

And I know his Pop Pop and Grandmommy are too.

My Beloved Parents and Kalin's Grandmommy and Pop Pop


  1. Your family looks great and we all miss you guys., and GOD bless your son in college. GOD bless your family to all to become stronger with the Lord and you guys will be OK.

    1. Thank you Fwatula! Your words have encouraged my heart, Sister. We'll miss you guys and Mosaic too! Many blessings...

  2. 0h, move me to tears. I am so grateful that you courageously share your experiences and talent with me and so many others. It is so wonderful that a moment of healing marked the beginning of this new journey for you and Kalin. A bit more lighthearted -I love Celine, too. ;)

    1. Oh, Julie... it moved me to tears while writing it, Friend. Thank you for your precious words. And I'm not surprised at all that you love Celine - you and I are kindred spirits!