As I wait with my daughter at the DMV so she can get her driver’s license, I can’t help but feel my stomach knotting. Hours later, I realize my stomach isn’t knotting; it is preparing to unknot.

Standing in the driveway, I watch her drive away for the first time by herself. I feel a string release from my control and into the hands of God. She has always been tethered to God; I simply embrace the honor of cherishing His child.

I wear a smile and blow her kisses until she can see me no more. And when I know she has left, I burst into tears. I’m not sure of all the reasons why I am crying.

I take a walk down the drive she just traveled – both of us now by ourselves – me on foot trying to clear my head – her driving to her favorite playlist on the way to school. She feels free. I feel remarkably alone.

I soon pass a young woman pushing a stroller. The woman is barefoot, walking in the warm afternoon grass. Her baby is as new as the spring flowers, and I find it hard to even move beyond them without feeling another unknotting. I understand this young mom is forming memories that her child is too young to remember. And I can’t help but think of my own mother who pushes her mom in a wheelchair to the lunchroom around this time of day. My grandmother has dementia. Now it is my mom who forms memories that her mother is unable to recall.

I know it to be true, but it is hard to convince my heart that the most consistent time I’ve had with my daughter has been lived. From buggy to hip, holding my hand, to hugging her tight… I have been with her the whole of her life. And now, as she leaves on her own… I will still be with her… but in different ways.

As much as she tells me we will do things together, the routine rides to take her and pick her up from school are gone. The late-night trips to the drugstore to get poster board for a school project due the next morning – these trips - as frustrating as they may have been, were another way we did life together. And we did a lot of life together.

The next time, it will more than likely be me going with her rather than her going with me. Yes, my daughter will invite me… but not every time. Odd feeling to now be the one invited.

Hard to explain.

Time fills up life in experiences, moments, and breaths. I am so thankful that it isn’t the doings or undoings of me that keep me eternally connected to those I love. No. We are tied to the One who keeps us together well beyond our humanness… memories… even time itself.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

We need love, and sometimes part of loving is letting go. Love is making memories with others who may not remember. Love is standing in the driveway watching her leave. And love is knowing that even in the cycle of birth and death, growing up and growing old, love is imprinted upon our souls. This imprint has been there well before we could form memories and will remain well beyond our ability to reminisce. Yes, this imprint is Love Himself. And Jesus’ love lives in us and through us for eternity.

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him” (1 John 4:8-9).

Many strings will be unknotted in our lifetime. Most come with a mix of pain and comfort. Yet, we have the assurance that we are secured to God. This knowledge gives us a settled focus and appreciation to enjoy life now as well as look forward to the days beyond our humanness… memories… even time itself.

SGLY, dear reader.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian Author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier, Instagram:@tiffanysgly, and Twitter: @tiffanychartier.