I don’t think I’d have been in such a hurry to reach adulthood if I’d known the whole thing was going to be ad-libbed. — Bill Watterson
“Oh, why can’t I be graduated, yet?” Paisley asked as she slumped down on the couch holding her senior year class schedule in her hands. She is just itching to get out of school, and “start her life” as she puts it. I ask her what’s she’s been doing for the last 17 years….has she been on pause and then miraculously when she gets her high school diploma life starts to immediately happen? Does life just become a massively huge adventure? Well, actually it can. And, I’m happy that she is full of optimism and dreams. I can totally remember how she feels, but it does kind of pain me just a teeny tiny bit that she doesn’t want to live with me forever (I know that sounds totally weird and creepy, but I mean it in the best of ways).
Eddie, who is just starting his sophomore year, is a little bit in “no-mans land.” He feels like he’s really too old to get excited about going to back to school, but not old enough to drive and do other things that almost 16-year-olds can do. He can see the end in sight, but it’s dim. He’s a little stuck in the middle. I know it can be frustrating for him, but I also know that these next couple of years are going to go by in fast motion. My boy will be a man in no time. I remind him that we are adults forever, but a kid only once. And, just like me at that age, it falls on deaf ears. His room, although it looks like an atomic clothes bomb went off in it, is mostly empty because he’s not hanging out in there so much anymore.
Now, Louie, well, he is just starting second grade and he is not jaded by a teenage disposition, yet. His new school year holds so much promise. He wonders if his teacher will be nice, or if he will have any friends in his class. He still gets to take a snack to school and have recess (which Eddie is super jealous about). The night before school, he could barely sleep because the nervous excitement kept his eyes from shutting. And, yes, I can remember how that felt, too.
For some reason, the beginning of school always triggers that fear of transition in me. You know, change is on the horizon. It can become so irritating because I like being comfortable in the role I play, and I like knowing my expectations. But, life in our home is going to change very quickly over the next couple of years. And, if my children are getting older, than that means that I’m getting older, too. Yes, I get that’s a good thing. If I’m not aging, well, that means I’m not living…and I really want to keep on living. But, it’s more like who do I become once my children don’t need me like they used to? Do I become…swallow hard here, useless?
Yes, that is where my brain took me (I know some of you may be rolling your eyes, but cut me some slack. I’m in the throws of change!). After I got over my pity party, I started thinking about …well, me. Although my children may not believe it at this time, there is way more to me than them. I was a real actual breathing and thinking person before they came into my life. I had passions and goals. And, what I had forgotten is that I’m going to be just as functional after they leave my home. It’s not like the world will stop turning and I will be living in some kind of gray void. Life will totally go on. All the love between the children and me will be same. It’s all still there, but it manifests itself differently. Instead of bedtime snacks and tucking in (well, Louie still gets those) we are spending time together looking at colleges and talking about their dreams for the future.
Isn’t that what its supposed to be? Isn’t our job as parents meant to prepare them to be independent of us? It’s like we spend so much time holding on to their hands, it’s just a bit hard to let go. But, once we let go, that’s when we get to see them stand on their own two feet. That’s when we get to see this huge investment we have made in the lives of our children really pay off. That’s when they get to show us what they are made of. They may not be saying, “Mommy, watch me!”, like they used to, but I know they are glancing over their shoulder to make sure we have an eye on them.
So, yes, I’m still a little nervous about the change. But, now I have this crazy anticipation to see where the Lord takes them. How will He use them? What parts of me will they take along?
And, while they are carving their own path, many new adventures await me, too. Although it is an end of raising my children the way I’m used to, every end is the beginning of something else. And, I’m eager to see what it is.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6