After rushing home from school I shuffle between our front door and my tasks of getting my house "mom clean" as I await their arrival. Finally I hear the back and forth of the door handle as it is pushed open. My daughter bursts through the door with arms full of dirty laundry and essentials. It is good to see her smiling face and long curly blond hair pass through our door. She manages a hug even with her arms full. I'm delighted to have her back home where in my mind she will always belong.
My daughter's entry into our foyer through the front door reminds me of the significance of doors in our world. We walk through them all the time in our lives. Who can't remember the first time they walked through the door of their first job, their first college class, or their first new home? Doors represent beginnings. A groom carries his bride through the door as they begin their new life together. Doors open our eyes to new opportunities. Doors make us burst with joy and bring tears of great sadness. You know the saying, "When one door closes another one opens." Doors can also represent an end. It is sometimes necessary to close the door on a chapter of our life.
Like an airport, where you can witness the happiest of reunions and saddest of departures, doors can bring a variety of feelings. I remember doors full of hellos. There were the times I remember greeting my grandparents as they came to our house on Christmas Eve to join us for an evening of celebration. My grandma entered our house dressed in a red sweater that brought out the beauty of her silver gray hair. Her lipstick perfectly applied and her eyes sparkling as she entered through the door of our house ready with a hug and a laugh for all of us. There is the hello of visiting a family members who live far away and seeing, for the first time, their lives up close. The hello of a friend we haven't seen in awhile. The hello of familiar faces as we move within our communities.
Of course, I also remember doors full of goodbyes. As a child I remember my grandparents standing at the door waving as we pulled out of the driveway after visiting. The last memory of my mother-in-law was her standing at the door waving to us as we packed her grandchildren into their carseats and pulled out of her driveway unaware of the sadness the next days would hold. She stood there a long time that night - a lot longer than usual. There are the goodbyes of our children as they slowly walk out of our doors to step into their own lives. The goodbye of friends after an evening of laughter. The goodbye as we leave the places we love to be most.
Tomorrow morning I will stand at the door again saying my goodbyes to my daughter. As she walks out the door, I know the lump in my throat will make it a little hard to swallow. I know my heart will weigh a little more on that day. Careful steady breathing may not be enough to keep a tear away. I know, however, this is an important time in her life when many doors will opening to invite her in for new opportunities and, of course, our door will always be waiting for her.