I sat for a moment with her before they arrived.  Calm, cool, super casual.  True to all I have known her to be.  She threw her head back in laughter at something I said.

She ordered an iced tea, watching the folk band practice in the circle of chairs next to us.

I never pictured it like this.  College interviews in a coffee shop.  Its funny, thats the place she is most comfortable.  She has grown up in coffee shops, studied most of her school years in coffee shops.  They are where she goes to relax, to read, to remember.  And now she sits in one with Cornell Architecture Alumni discussing why she's interested in that school,  why they are in her, what she might bring to the table.  It makes me laugh...and cry.

As I stood, packed my water bottle into my purse, and began to leave, I paused noticing her hands.  I was leaving before anyone she was meeting arrived.  I snapped a quick pic of the hands that grasped mine the moment she was born, the ones I have held for countless reasons over countless days.  The hands that have grown from ones that fit in my palm to now being ones that can wear my wedding ring.   These hands that created the art that she will show in the portfolio today, the main reason for which they are gathered.

I watched those hands learn to hold a pencil.  And throw a football to her father.  And hold handle bars and wooden spoons.  And grasp paintbrushes and charcoal, and floaties in the pool.  And clutch swings and satchels and guitars.  Ive watched those hands comfort others, climb mountains and create incredible beauty.  Oh and the books and books and books they have held.

Those hands are now ready to serve the world.  I must let them go.  I never knew it would ache like this.

I sit minutes down the road and will return to her when she calls.  I am sick at heart personally, but so incredibly happy for her as I watch these magnificent wings extend and begin to lift her away.    But I never knew it would ache like this.

I love those hands.