Don’t blink. Time flies. It’ll be over before you know it. So many clichés. But now I’m living them. Why?
My first-born just left the nest.
I swear it was yesterday I embraced Drew while we sobbed together in our kitchen after announcing our move to the East Coast. It was 5 years ago.
The day before that, I smiled as he smiled back at me for the first time… with braces. It was 7 years ago.
And just before that, I walked him to the end of the street before he stepped onto that big yellow bus for Lincoln Elementary. It was 13 years ago.
And just the day before, I labored for 27 hours for a long-awaited 10 pound, 1 ounce baby boy named Andrew, who forever changed my name to mom. It was 18 years ago.
Can anyone relate?
Looking back I feel incredible joy living right alongside sadness at the moments that we’ve left behind. Some will get hazy with the passing of time while others will remain firmly locked with crystal clarity.
A few years ago, during a moment of panic about the future, a friend shared wise words with me about preparing for, enjoying, and letting go of each moment in time. Her words have carried me through the past five years and will forever guide me into the future.
Simply put, letting go is a process and we are equipped for each step. If we look too far ahead, we get overwhelmed. The truth is, we never live life as fast as we do in our own mind. Our kids don’t go from kindergarten to marriage overnight.
Each day, each season, brings a new letting go that prepares us for the next letting go, and the next and the next.
Think about it.
Sleep-overs start with grandparents. Then family friends. Then schoolmates. Then camp… the sleep-over kind.
Car seats have two options, backwards and forwards, before booster seats. Then no assisted seat. Then front-seat privileges. Then driving… and friends driving.
Friendships are mom-dictated playdates. Then kid-chosen. Then opposite sexed. Then marriage… and babies.
Kindergarten begins with half days. Then elementary graduation. Then middle-school. Then high school… and graduation.
Life is a series of events that string together to make a beautiful whole. When we fast-forward and let anxiety and fear get the best of us, we cloud the now and the then.
If we send our kids to school thinking about their graduation day, we miss their grin as they climb the school bus stairs for the first time.
If we worry about the day our kids will get their license when they’re only 12, we miss the conversations we are having now while taking them to hockey practice.
If we panic at the thought of them packing their belongs for life after high school (even if it’s 1422.72 miles from our house… approximately) we miss every single moment they’re hanging out in our kitchen, family room, hot tub, and deck with us.
Grab every opportunity to grow roots. Deepen them by talking, laughing, playing, and crying. Build them by comforting, disciplining, teaching, and learning.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6
When the time comes to let go, you will be ready. Even if it hurts a little. Or a lot.
When you bow your head to pray with your son on his last day of high school, or at lunch on your way to move him into his college dorm room, and find you can no longer speak through the tears, he will pick up where you left off.
Because he has roots.
Letting go isn’t easy, but we must. College and wives and grandchildren are at stake.
And rooted kids are made to fly.