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As Autumn Prepares to Leave

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on October 30, 2013
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Last night after almost 6 hours in the car and a full day at an educational conference, I sank into the couch with my laptop determined to delete the emails accumulated in my inbox. As I clicked to remove ads that I would normally consider and blogs I read on a regular basis, I scanned all the messages to make sure I didn’t eliminate any family, church, or school news.


As my eyes traveled down the sender list, one subject caught my attention. “As Autumn Slips Through My Fingers” is the latest blog article written by Margaret Langridge, a writer and photographer I enjoy following. But as I read this particular title, sadness gripped my heart.


Margaret’s article is about autumn slipping away to be replaced by winter’s gloves and slick sidewalks. She anticipates a special occasion, her anniversary, and reflects upon the time she lacks for her writing. It’s a thought-provoking, gratifying article.

Unfortunately, the phrase “Autumn slips through my fingers” means something totally different to me. My 17-year-old, senior in high school, beauty and brains daughter, Autumn, will be leaving me soon. She is entrenched in the college and scholarship application process and is excited for her future.

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I’m also thrilled for her, but I find myself counting the weeks I have left until she leaves. If we move her into her college dorm mid-August, the magic number now stands at 41. That’s not a very big number, especially when so much of her time is spent at her job. I love Chick-fil-a and working there has been good for Autumn. She has grown in confidence, and the level of responsibility required to take college courses her senior year and work 20 or more hours a week has forced her to improve her time management skills, which will certainly come in handy at college. In spite of the positive effects, I am starting to feel resentment build every week when she sends me her schedule and I count the evenings she won’t be home with the family.


Frequently while completing chores around the house, I wonder what it will be like without her at home. What I’ve always referred to as “Daddy moments”, instantaneous tears when my dad crosses my mind, have started concerning her as well. Putting clothes in the washing machine can open the dam of tears in an “Autumn moment” that I can’t control. My liquid emotions flow, and I am left with red eyes and a runny nose as a result of doing laundry. Yes, it’s crazy.


Autumn hopes to attend George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Have you ever heard the phrase “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”? I’m sure the whole time we were touring the campus, God was chuckling. We thought we were there to discover Autumn’s second choice because she had been determined for years to attend a different school. After the visit, we were both in shock. GMU seemed to be the perfect fit. To make sure, she scheduled appointments with a professor in her desired field of study from each of the schools. The interviews solidified her change of heart. GMU rose to the top of her list.


Now we wait. The early application is complete, and Autumn should find out by mid-December if she is accepted into the GMU Honors College. I’m praying if that’s where God wants her, that’s where she’ll end up.

Oh, and I’m also praying God helps me control my tears.



8 Responses to 'As Autumn Prepares to Leave'

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  1. Becky Revere said,

    As I read this blog I am reminded of how my last year has been with Kelly slipping through my fingers. The transition has been difficult for my whole family BUT I have noticed a more confident young woman when she does come home now. I am now at peace with her leaving and know that it was all in God’s plans for her!! Take Care!!

    • Thanks, Becky! It is comforting to remember that others have lived through this! Kelly is such a beautiful young woman, inside and out. I know you miss her and are proud of her!

  2. Amy Stoup said,

    I’m crying!!!

    • Yours is next! I’ll cry with you, too!

  3. Martha Powers said,

    So hard for me to believe — looking at the pictures past — is the child I remember so well; as Autumn has become older and our paths have not crossed, you are Mark (remind me so much of my parents) have been the very best in teaching and guiding her to the beautiful, young woman she is today. For me, I am so hoping that she will not be attending the college of her first choice, because I live here. Praying she will be attending George Mason. Love all of you dearly, and I am absolutely hysterical in knowing all that you are experiencing and feeling.

    • Thanks, Martha! We’re all very excited. Autumn and I have been to GMU three times now. The last visit we took Mark with us. Autumn says she knows he approves because he bought a GMU ball cap! 🙂

  4. Tracy Robertson said,

    Linden, It’s hard to see your first born go off to college. Tears trickled each and every time they would return home and then back out the door. I will admit that the college years seemed to fly by and in that aspect, she will be in and out quickly and then she will be sad that it’s already over. It was a great time for my kids and I’m so thankful that they had the education that they did. Bless her as she takes off and explores new horizons. By the way, we miss you guys. 🙂

    • Thanks, Tracy! We miss you too. I’m grateful that she won’t be too far away at college. If I really need an Autumn fix, I can do the trip in one day and still have some hours to visit. She is so emotionally ready to move on to the next step. My emotions just need to catch up a bit! Love you all!

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