(I just had to with the title- If you don’t get it- ask someone else! You will make me feel too OLD!)
DISCLAIMER-THIS POST MAY BE ON THE CHEESIER SIDE. IF YOU ARE LIKE ME AND DON’T LOVE “CHEESY” YOU CAN EXIT NOW, NO HARD FEELINGS!😊
So, I’m sitting down this morning to write, my mind having been consumed with the boys these last couple of days- specifically my older two. They are now a Junior and a Sophomore in High School! I don’t know exactly how this happened to be quite honest. I mean, I look in the mirror, and other than the streaks of gray slowly beginning to take over my dark brown hair, I don’t FEEL old enough to have kids this age. I find myself looking at the computer screen and feeling overcome with so many emotions. Something happened for me recently, that I believe triggered this bag of feelings I’m processing through right now. I want to share that with you, in an effort to encourage and relate, and honestly in hopes of better solidifying what I KNOW is truth.
Being around my children brings me SO much joy. Obviously, we have tough days, (as described in the LAST post) so I can TOTALLY relate when you just want to hide, or change your name from “Mommy”, because if you hear it one more time it may result in a scream the entire neighborhood would hear! I’m also learning that teenagers present entirely NEW challenges. You are now dealing with this person that has their own ideas, feelings, opinions, perspective, experiences, that have all been woven together to make them who they are today. On occasion, this strong individual can tend to believe they already have the world and every potential situation figured out. (for those of you veteran Moms you are probably laughing at this concept being new to me 😂 ) Knowing the TRUTH of each situation to sometimes be different than what they have hashed out in their minds, as their parent, you try to no longer rule with just the “because I said so” mentality. Instead, you try to guide them along the path of making the right choices for themselves and doing it because THEY believe it to be the right or honorable decision. Not just “because I said so.” The older they get, the more independence they have, resulting in them needing you less. They develop more relationships, each of which require some of their time to grow and foster, school, sports, church, work…it just get’s to be a lot. I will be the first to admit that often times in the rush of our daily lives, I’m not always consciously aware that I miss them when they are gone for any of the above mentioned activities.
However recently, something shifted for me. Because of what I’m going to share, I feel now like I am missing them anytime they are away-recognizing the moments they will live with me are running short. Anyhow, the boys went on a mission trip with the church. As usual, we had been super busy the week they were gone. I would think about them every now and then, missing them here and there, but for the most part just going about our normal “crazy” -minus a couple of key “crazies” 😊 On the night they were due home, Hunter and I sat up waiting, SO excited to see them. I honestly felt a little like a kid having to sit through their birthday party with a table full of gifts staring them in the face! I was engaging with Hunter, but not really, because every passing set of headlights would trigger me to get up off the couch and see if they were pulling into our driveway. Hunter, sensing my eagerness and wanting to spare me any possible letdown, tried to prepare me by saying, “Lis you know its after midnight, when they get here they MAY not want to talk,” to which I nodded my head. (secretly still praying God would GIVE them the energy! Because in that moment ALL I wanted to do was talk to them😊) They finally came through the door at 2am, exhausted, but THANKFULLY they were still wanting to sit and download the events of their week. We were able to just be with them and listen to to the stories of them helping the neighbors the lived around the church they stayed at. They did yard work for some who were unable to care for their homes and yards themselves. They repaired walkways and trampolines, really anything they could do to serve. The boys were actually surprisingly talkative, so we were just soaking it all in, loving every minute of it- This Momma was in HEAVEN!! BOYS who were CHATTY when I wanted them to be. THIS LITERALLY NEVER HAPPENS. They told us about new relationships they had formed and conversations that had been shared. These conversations they were having were incredibly thought provoking and some very difficult, especially for a 17 and 16 year old. As they continued to talk, my heart was just flooding with pride and joy. The more we listened, the more they shared. Some stories were hilarious to hear about, especially when we would get the “oh-so-animated” Jacob as the storyteller. Standing up for parts, he would use his entire body to really make sure we had a visual of the events that had taken place. We all laughed so hard we were short of breath! While some of the moments they opened up about were super heart warming. Nathan told us (without moving his body at all, of course😊) about an elderly woman who became so attached to him, she asked for his address in order to write letters to keep in touch. She called him her “newest grand baby.”
The evening was one I was able to recognize immediately, while being in the moment, as one I would remember forever. After a good amount of time, and with this Mom on an incredible “Mom high”, they each hugged us and started to get ready to go to bed. In that very moment, as I watched them walk off in different directions, I had a HUGE, I’m talking slap-in-the-face kind of realization. My “babies”, the same ones I just sat here with for over an hour, are no longer “babies”. When did that happen? I felt flooded with feelings of sadness, realizing that they will never again climb up and sit in my lap. I will never carry them in my arms again. How has all this time gone by?? I feel like I’ve somehow missed it, though I have been present the whole time. That time that has passed provided me with countless memories, but the moments of them being little are just gone. It was like a sense of grief I was feeling but it was foreign to me. It was grief for time gone by that I could never get back. Not the familiar grief of a loved one lost that I had felt before. My loved ones are still here, but my “babies” are gone. I was mourning my little ones, who will never be little again.
I found myself fighting back the tears. But it was within seconds of feeling overcome with the loss in that moment, the Holy Spirit allowed me the perspective to realize that THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN RAISING THEM FOR. So, along with that thought, I began to feel joy. Joy in seeing the Godly, amazing men they are both becoming. Joy and gratitude in knowing that these incredible, kind souls I see in front of me are not amazing because I have been some kind of wonderful, perfect Mother. (far from it) They are this way because the Lord has clearly captivated their hearts. What else could I EVER want for my children? Sure, I hope they don’t see heartache, though the logical side of my brain knows they will. I hope they never feel the sting of what it means to make a poor life choice having to endure the long term consequences of that, though I know they
might. Even in desiring all of those things for them, I am able to know that they will survive any obstacles they encounter, BECAUSE they are surrendered ultimately to Him and His will for their lives. What a sense of freedom and peace there is in that as a parent. I get to know that my boys will be OK because they belong to Him. No one on this Earth could ever love them or want what is best for them more that I do as their Mother, but our Heavenly Father loves them EVEN MORE than that.
I’ve always known and believed these things to be true. I’ve always known that God entrusted all of my children to me to care for and nurture, but that ultimately, they are His. However, there was something about that evening with the boys, that moment- seeing The Word so alive in their hearts, conversation and actions- that just transformed what I knew and believed in my heart, into something tangible that I could see and touch. So, while there was, and still is a sense of sadness in this time, realizing my little boys would not be little again, I feel truly grateful that the Lord allowed me to have Joy and Peace that coincided with those other emotions. What an awesome God we serve! He cares for me as a Mother to give me the good right along side the bad, and he cares for my children ALL in such a way that he works in their lives every moment of every day.
So, I guess to end this one, I pray that in the moments when I miss the “little” versions of the young men I have in my care, that I can feel the sadness for a moment but remain rooted in the JOY of seeing the servants of Christ they have become. I want to give you all that cliche reminder people ALWAYS tell you as a young parent, “The time is going to FLY by!” But, I also want to add that unfortunately you won’t fully realize the truth that lies in that statement until the time is already gone. I want to encourage you to hold them as often as you can for as long as you can- BUT find COMFORT in the knowing that once those days have passed, God has so many more incredible moments ahead. You will get to be a first hand witness to your children fulfilling His purpose in each of their lives and there is TRULY no greater joy as a parent.
Comment below with any of your thoughts or insights! I would love to hear from you