This is a picture of my youngest biological baby when he was about three years old. He is twenty now and away at college, a seven hour drive from home. I look at this picture and feel such a mix of emotions; joy, love, sadness, and just a hint of regret. He grew up so fast! They all did (he has three older siblings). Sometimes the melancholy that comes with the realization that my babies are all grown up almost smothers me.
To continue this story, I feel I need to give you some back story. I lived two different lives as a mother. I had two girls in my twenties, before Christ, and succeeded in making sure they both needed therapy by the time they reached adulthood. Then, in my thirties, I met Jesus and my husband, Rich. Rich and I had two boys and we had a wonderful life. We raised the boys in church and homeschooled them in their early years. The girls were around intermittently. The oldest was all but grown and the youngest lived with her dad for most of the year. They both adored their little brothers, but for the most part lived their own lives. I felt like the boys were my redemption as a mother.
Rich, the boys, and I were a close-knit little unit. We did little league with my husband coaching. We did Boy Scouts and wonderful family vacations. Homeschooling was some of my favorite memories; the field trips we took and fun projects we did. I loved raising my boys. I think the melancholy is so thick sometimes because we were so close and Rich and I were so present in their lives. It’s hard adjusting to someone being gone who was such an intricate part of your everyday life. Even when Matt (the one in the picture) was home for a year after high school and before going to college, he was still an adult with his own life that wasn’t so intertwined with ours. We’re still close, don’t get me wrong. It’s just different and I’m sure any parent of adult children can relate. (How funny! As I was writing this, Matt messaged me. 😊💕)
The Lord has impressed on me many times, the importance of letting my children go and entrusting them to Him. Letting go of my boys has been especially difficult and I’ve learned that the best way to not drown in sadness is to keep busy. I praise God for sending us our little Leah. She keeps me too busy, most of the time, to dwell on my children leaving home. I never want to be that mom that falls apart without her children to take care of. My dad’s mom would always cry as we were leaving after a visit because her “baby” was leaving. I never thought of her as a particularly happy person and I don’t want to be remembered that way by MY children or grandchildren. I want to be an encouragement to all my kids. I also don’t want to have the kind of imbalance in my life that there would be if they were the center of my universe. That’s just not healthy. Jesus is the center of my universe and He will take care of my children according to His plans and purposes. I just have to remind myself of that occasionally. Thankfully too, my husband is my best friend and we spend a lot of time together. That helps a lot during the adjustment period.
My next hurdle will be my oldest son. He will be the last boy to leave home as he plans to enter the mission field and go to Germany for two years. Germany! That’s more than a seven-hour drive! I’m really trying to not totally freak out over that one. Then I get an eight to ten year break before Leah’s ready to fly the coop. I thank God for Skype and Viber, and all the other technology that lets me keep in touch, and for being so faithful and patient with me as I let my kids go, over and over and over …