I’ve been a mom for more than half my life, and nearly all of my adult life. As a mother of four children varying greatly in age, I find myself emotionally torn and tormented by the milestone’s in my children’s lives. At one point I had a newborn, a 14 month old, a pre-adolescent and a teenager! Trying to shift my mindset from cooing at a newborn to dealing with teenage drama and everything in between had me thinking I was going crazy on some days. Those days seemed so long at the time. I remember a few years ago feeling so sentimental when my oldest child was graduating from high school and my youngest graduating from pre-school…they were growing up too fast and I wasn’t ready for them to go.
Funny how fast things change, just last year I was considering having another baby (call me crazy), and now I have a daughter that is getting married in 4 months! My 17- year-old son is on a mission trip to Uganda this summer and then will be off to college a year later and my little ones are 9 and 10 years old already. I remember the little steps of letting go along the way, the first day of school, letting them cross the street without holding my hand, the first sleep over at a friends house and the first time they stayed home alone for an hour without a sitter. I thought that by taking these little steps along the way, that when the time came I would be prepared for the day when my little birds wanted to spread their wings and fly! Afterall, I had always wanted so much for my children. I encouraged them to move away and experience life, travel to foreign lands, have fun, make (little) mistakes and learn and grow in the process. I had no idea how difficult it would be to actually watch them go, especially when I’m still in the midst of mothering little ones! In a way it’s a blessing that I still have young ones at home, it keeps me busy and my mind from (constant) worry.
I am so proud of my daughter, her convictions, her accomplishments, her choice in a husband and of how she’s grown in to such a beautiful woman from the inside out. My son that’s in Uganda fills my heart with joy that he has the compassion and love for Christ to serve others in this way. My heart is overflowing with love, memories and happiness for them as these two set off to take flight following their own hearts and dreams! In the meantime, I still have my two snuggle-bugs at home for a while and I find myself hugging them a little longer, laughing with them a little louder and wanting to make the most of each and every moment with them! I’ve realized that just because we can let go of our attachment to our children, does not lessen the amount of love we have for them. In doing this, it frees us all to be our unique selves able to fully express our talents and gifts and share them with the world without feeling stifled!
Through my tears I am smiling at thoughts of bright futures and great adventures ahead for my kids. I’ve always known that they weren’t really mine to keep, they were a gift from God for me to love, nurture, teach and learn from and then set free to become all they were meant to be…my realization of this has been truly bittersweet.