As I sit and write this, there is a lot I should be doing. Laundry, dishes, paying bills – tasks that need to be completed before the clock strikes the time to leave on another trip to Texas to see my two freshman Bears (sic’em!).
I have lost track of the times I have been to Baylor this year.
If I sat and thought hard enough, I would remember the whirlwind drives that have become very familiar.
If the same car took all of the trips, it would know its way without my direction.
Lots to be done. But nothing seems as pressing as this writing.
Two years ago around this time of year, I wrote a blog post titled, “The First College Tour,” a misnomer as I had not been on the first college tour. In that post, I shared about how hard this whole “growing up as a parent” seemed. Watching the little people that I had – at times – hoped would grow up faster than they were so that they could tie their own shoes or use the bathroom without needing constant supervision as they became adults-in-training seemed so hard.
And it still is!
This continuum. This big deal. This turning of the light switch from “my kids” to “my adults in training.”
They have navigated a lot. They have had to do so – they chose to attend school thousands of miles away from home.
I can’t believe that you let them go so far away…
Famous words spoken by so many including me.
What was I supposed to do? Lock them up?
I have always said that I wanted them to fly, and they did. And they are. And sometimes the road is really bumpy. And sometimes, even though it is far away, I have to go to see them.
They just left two weeks ago.
Yep. They did. They left. Again. So much leaving.
- The beginning of the school year
- At the end of my surprise trip in October
- After a wedding
- At the end of Thanksgiving break
- At the end of Christmas break
- At the end of spring break (just two weeks ago)
I think I could make it until the middle of May now, but I am not going to have to do so. I get in the car this afternoon, and 48 hours from now I see them.
Next year could be different. Maybe I can go to Texas fewer times.
I doubt it.
And it doesn’t matter.
What matters is that I can say, “See you later!” and mean it because I will see them later.
There will be summer, another break, another trip.
It all seems so final on graduation day, on moving day, and every time we say, “Goodbye.”
But it’s not final.
It’s just not.
It really is, “See you soon!”
All of this is just training for the future.
Some day, they will not have stuff stored at my house. As I typed that, I realized that I still have stuff stored at my house in Grand Forks. I should probably get that….tangent….
The point is that some day things will look much more permanently changed than they are now. I have watched others go through this as they have prayed their children through college, marriages, divorces, job changes, and moves.
The changes that come because children grow is hard….for their parents….
I have cheered and teared through every moment of these big steps this year.
And I know for a fact that I will do the same for many years to come. Every day that they fly, I learn a new way of doing life.
This change seems so sudden, but we have been preparing for it for years. The first time I put them on the church van to go to summer camp 200 miles away from me was training for today. The first time they went to the mall with their friends – and no parent along! – was training for today. The first time they took the car for a drive without a parent in the car was training for today.
While it appears that we – the parents – are training them in each of these instances, there is a very real truth that those circumstances trained us as well.
Plenty of books on parenting exist. None do justice to the way that it really feels when kids leave home.
This is not some cheesy sentimental post. Really – it’s not.
I want to be serious about the fact that we have to let them fly, to let them go the direction that God takes them, and to let them learn the lessons that we all learned through success and failure.
So…mom, it’s ok to feel like you are still taking big steps…they are big steps…just keep taking them…
4 responses to “Still Stepping Those Big Steps”
I am at the other end of spectrum in that Andrew’s starting Kindergarten in the fall, and I’m already having odd anxiety dreams!
Jenny: you are fine. You could look into those dreams/anxiety meds of this gets in the way of life, home, work, etc balance or wherever. Help you sleep. Most important thing is to let the next stage to come ready or not as you are. Welcome it, embrace it, and engage it. Few things can keep you drowning in self-misery than when you face your life and expect it to be hard, challenging, and rewarding only to discover that it sucks. When it is not fulfilling becomes a burden to our souls.
I know just how you feel. My youngest daughter is going to check out a college next month – in Massachusetts!
Which one? I love Massachusetts! Kerry did his MDiv north of Boston. It was so great…