Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Launch


It's a part of life. And generally I welcome change. I'm usually up for a new adventure, eager to explore the unexplored. I know God's grace stretches out into my future, and I trust that he'll meet me in every transition. So I look to the next year with hopefulness. I choose an attitude of delightful anticipation. Yet I acknowledge that my joy is mingled with grief. Because honestly, I've only been home 24 hours, and I already miss Graham.

Oh, I rejoice in who he is and I'm excited for where God is leading him. He is exactly where he should be, doing as he ought. It is holy, right, and good for the boy to grow up and leave home. I want him to go. Still, I grieve him being gone.

It's the path of parenthood. We pour our lives into theirs, love them with all we've got, only to prepare them to take flight. We nudge them out of the nest, trusting that the elation we feel from seeing them soar will eclipse the pain of their depart.

And parents--we know that this is the deal going in. Our children don't belong to us, they are simply entrusted to us for a season. Which is why we must figure out how to give ourselves to them without finding our identities in them. It's a fine balance.

For many years, older parents would look longingly at my little boys and tell me, "Cherish this time, it passes quickly." Some days I would smile grimly, thinking, "Quickly? Today alone has felt like a week!" But other times I would heed their warning. On those days I'd let the boys dawdle at mud puddles, climb over dirt piles, and gaze in wonder at grasshoppers. We'd read an extra book at bedtime, splash in the bath until their tiny hands looked like prunes, and tolerate endless questions in the car. As they got older, we'd linger over dinner conversations long after we'd finished eating, quote our favorite lines from movies (ad nauseum), and spend more time in guitar and video game stores than we thought possible.

I didn't miss their childhoods, and I look forward to sharing their adulthoods. Because all that stuff--the lingering when a hug lasts longer than needed, the listening when the words make your ears feel tired, the watching of stunts, the running of races, the kissing of boo-boos--all that stuff is building relationships that will last long after the child becomes independent. That's what we hope, anyway.

So while I mourn the absence of Graham, I celebrate his launch into adulthood. I'm cheering him on, wishing him well, and faithfully praying for the days and weeks ahead. I'm entering the next phase of parenting, which I expect to be every bit as engaging as the first phase--with fewer messes. I will be learning a new role, making new mistakes, and trying to figure out how the cherish THIS time, as well.

Meanwhile, Chandler might find his mother a bit clingy. Because he's still here. For one more blessed year....

1 comment:

  1. Oh I totally understand! I was there last year (but my boy was only 5 hours away). I'll let you know how it goes with the 2nd one soaring too. Even when we know this is where our babes are supposed to be doesn't mean we don't miss them and learn to adjust to a new normal.

    With one left at home last year we "practiced" being empty nesters by intentionally taking extra time with just the 2 of us. As well as cherishing the last year with the one left at home.

    This is my 5th day home with no kids. We've kept pretty busy (deliberately?) but I know it is really going to hit next week when school starts up and no one comes home at 3:00.

    I can say it's been a joy to watch and hear how they grow up from teenagers at home to teenagers learning to live on their own, and succeeding.