When I was a High School senior, my English Comp final essay was something I brushed off in the final days of exams and running the halls catching last minute photos and doing the senior countdown. I really couldn’t see myself farther down the road than that monumental diploma that I’d strived for.
It felt like I’d been working my whole life on getting to that day when I’d worry about tripping across the stage and never have to be a “kid” again.
It’s the final days of my kid’s school year and they are chaffing at the bit to get home and onto summer vacation. I am ready to go for silencing the alarm clock for a few months and not get up at 5:25 every morning too. I’m so ready.
That said, I can not believe where I am. It’s now 20 years since that stage crossing, and my BABY is turning 9 in a month. When I turned in my essay, I said something flippant like, “I’ll be married, have a few kids, a dog, own a house, and be doing something to help people.” Wow. I sure had a lot in mind. Stereotypical and vague.
My little brother (who is like a foot taller than me) is having his third child this winter. His oldest is five. When I look over at my three kids, while he is still introducing new family members to us, I am halfway or further down the road to sending mine off into the world. It nearly takes my breath away.
In ten years my baby will be 19, my daughters will be 22 and 23. They will all be older than me when i dashed off that essay to my teacher. They will be ready to tackle the world, sure that their whole life is waiting to unfold.
Yeah, I know, it’s about time for that midlife crisis to hit. But really, that isnt at all what this is about. I realized as I watched my daughter crash on the sofa, her face flushed from a long day and a hot walk home, that her angelic face was not that of my baby girl anymore – but that of a budding young woman.
“Christi, dont you always have this revelations,” you ask yourself?
Have I taught her all those important things she HAS to know yet? Have I even begun to arm her with the things she will need to fly from the nest? Yeah, I think I really have… and something about that makes me somber.
Do I want to be back as a new mom changing an enormous number of diapers, nursing nonstop and be faced with the incredible task of writing upon their blank slates a whole lifetime of “mom” quotes? Those ones that can be looked back upon when wondering what to do next? No, not really I guess, though I would do it again in a heartbeat… but I am already wistful and my empty nest is truly still 10 years away.
But NOW… now I GET how fast 10 years goes. Now I GET how truly unknown the world is. I’ve lived 20 years long enough to have sprouted more gray and white hair than I have colored ones left… I have scars and bruises to my body, mind, and soul. I am not really wiser – I’ve just lived long enough to know better.
What do I know better? I know that I cant do anything alone. I know that the only good and real things I have ever done is by leaning, trusting, and believing in God, and knowing that it’s HIS plans for my future I want… not my own.
And – if God can let go of HIS children, so can I.
He never said it was easy to train up a child in the way they should go – and He never promised life without pain. He did promise to walk beside them every single day of their life – and so THAT I will do as a parent too. I will unconditionally love and cherish these children, tell them the truth, show them the path to God, and let HIM take over from there. Even when every part of my being wants to scream for time to stand still and give me more years with the precious young babies I have. I will let them begin to be the amazing people He wants them to be, and to yes, help them try their wings at whatever they feel He’s led them to.
But I’m gonna need a crazy amount of courage and a butt load of kleenex and late night prayer sessions to keep me on track at letting them grow up and try out those new wings.
Remember to cherish your children always – no matter what stage they are in. Each day will bring new stages and new challenges… There may be many “stages” to walk across, i.e. graduate, college, marriage, parenthood, empty-nest, grandparent… and on and on… but each one comes with a crazy amount of work.
But for now… I will just focus on summer vacation, be grateful I am home with them all summer (no matter the reasons) and write some more MOM quotes upon the slates in their hearts. (which nowadays looks more like an iPad than a stick of chalk and a black board.) :-)