My daughter, Mackenzie, will graduate from high school in a few weeks. I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. I am filled with emotion.

Mackenzie is my firstborn. I agonized through THREE days of labor as she prepared to enter the world 17 years ago. Somehow, all the pain and suffering of those three days dissipated as I held her in my arms for the very first time. I knew I loved this child more than any love I had ever known. And now, I have to let her go.

Mackenzie’s life has been filled with graduations, like the time she weaned from my breast. I’ll never forget my little 10-month-old curled up in my arms, looking up at me, pretending she was going to bite me. That smile on her face and the twinkle in her eye said it was time to let my baby go. She was ready to move on.

Then there was the time that Mackenzie scaled the “rocket ship” at our local playground. As she made her way up the outside of this giant jungle gym, my heart sank to my toes. I had to bite my tongue. This was another leap in letting go.

With each step Mackenzie has taken, I’ve had to grow up. Whether it was watching her work through a teenage dysfunctional relationship with a boyfriend, or witnessing her pain as she grieved the loss of her daddy, I’ve had to release my need to protect Mackenzie, and surrender her to God. And, now, as she prepares to graduate and move on to college, it is time for me to release my child once and for all.

Letting Mackenzie go is one of the most challenging acts of love I’ve ever done. To allow one’s baby to fly and scale the “rockets” of life is truly an act of surrender.

What I know for sure is that by allowing Mackenzie to fly over the years, she is a bright light to all those who know her. People often comment on how beautiful she is. My response is, “She’s even more beautiful on the inside.” That cute little cuddly baby of mine has grown into an incredible young woman, filled with compassion, kindness, and fairness for her fellow man. She celebrates life and is loved and admired by all of her friends. How lucky I am to have witnessed this child’s life for the last 17 years!

I am so sad to let my baby go, and, yet, I am so thankful for the gifts she has given me. To know this kind of love, the love of a mother and her child, is truly a blessing.

Trust is where I stand now, knowing that my daughter is on her own magnificent journey. There will be more graduations throughout her life, some of them small, and some of them monumental. But as each chapter closes and a new one opens, I will celebrate her and surrender.

Author's Bio: 

Terri Amos-Britt is the author of "Message Sent" and her recently completed book, "The Enlightened Mom," as well as co-author of the bestseller, "Wake Up Women." As a spiritual coach and motivational speaker, Terri shares her experiences as a wife, mom, step-mom, former Miss USA and television host, inspiring others to release the emotional chaos in their lives, creating ones of passion, purpose and love. Terri is the co-founder of the Enlightened Family Institute with her husband, Charlie Britt. Their mission is to bring hope and healing to individuals and families all over the world. For more information, please go to EnlightenedFamilyInstitute.com.