It makes me feel strange that one of my children is in China, another is in Colorado, and another in South Dakota. Just Shay is here in Ames this week—and even she is away during the day working. My mind seems scattered in all directions since I think about all of them several times a day, trying to imagine what they might be doing at that moment…or wondering if they remembered to bring a water bottle…or if they are feeling happy in their unfamiliar surroundings. I wonder if they think about me and their dad or their home or their pets. And it makes me sad to know that their mom and dad and home and pets are slowly, but surely, becoming less central in their lives—and more periphery. Their fledgling wings are growing strong, and soon they will be soaring independently…just as we trained them to do.
This is good, right? Then why am I struggling with it so much these past few months? Why do I feel like crying every time I look at the lonely swing set? Why does every discarded toy in the goodwill pile make me sad? Why does errand-running all alone seem so wrong? Why do I mourn the loss of my little family “community” when this same “community” made my house really messy and used to drive me crazy by the end of the summer? I think it’s because we, as a family, are nearing the end of an era—a really great era—an era that required huge amounts of time, energy, and perseverance—but a rewarding era, nonetheless. It is a period of time that we can’t repeat or replicate. This is how life works. That’s how God designed it.
But still, I struggle.
As a young mom, with little kids, I used to look at mothers with teenagers or adult children and think, “Their kids are old now. They can’t possibly love them like I love my kids—older kids just aren’t as loveable.” But, oh how wrong I was. Now as one of those older mothers, I have so much time and training and teaching invested in each one of my children; there is no way I could love them any less. I have so many dreams for them because I have watched them struggle and strain and develop perseverance and I know who they could become. I have pushed them toward the Truth and rejoiced when they have become more like Jesus and less like the world.
I have prayed thousands of hours for them during illness, and adjustments, and track meets, and driving. I have cried for them because I was happy and because I was so frustrated I could do nothing else. I have been so proud that they were mine that I wanted to announce it to the world. And I have been hurt by the fact that they really don’t need me to help them anymore. My heart has become enmeshed with theirs and their desires have become my own. My entire life has become wrapped around them.
Never ever ever have I stopped loving them. Nor will I. And never ever ever will I cease to be their mom. Beside my husband, they are the most precious gift I have ever been given on this earth.
I’m trying to embrace this new era—this grown up era—but the goings’ a little rough now and then. Like when all of my kids are all over creation…and I can’t protect them, or even see them.
So, I sit at home and rock the cat and write in my blog and get ready to go on a trip. on my own. like a grown up. a grown up mom with older kids.
That’s how God designed it.
As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you…