I’ve said this so many times before, but it begs repeating.
Nobody warns you when you have these precious children that one day they’re going to grow up and become big people and then they’re going to leave.
And when they go, they’re going to take a portion of your heart with them. There’s a little bit of agony involved when that portion of your heart leaves. I know this from first-hand experience.
Today, yet again, I packed up and waved farewell to my college-aged son as he drove off to meet his friends and return to school. These Christmas holidays have been wonderful and full of life. My house, which stays relatively empty these days, was bursting at the seams with people.
My daughter came home and we made cookies and shopped; my heart was so full just spending time with her. She brought along a significant other and it was great to get to know him a little better. My oldest son, the middle child, was home and he fills any room with his big personality. When he’s around there’s always lots of laughter and plenty of banter. And, of course, my youngest son, who still lives at home, quietly observed all of the chaos, adding his two cents when possible. My husband was home on extended vacation so our whole family plus one was together for more than just a short time; it was such a blessing!
Well, as all good things, it came to an end to soon.
My daughter had to return to school to sign up for classes and get back to work. My son is driving back to school at this moment. And I am standing in the kitchen wiping my tears trying to work through the emotional knots that I have in my stomach.
Of course before this middle child of mine left he had to pause and pose for a picture, it’s my tradition. One thing you should know about me is I feel the need to capture every moment I can on film. Or in today’s terms, “cyberspace.”
I don’t know why I’ve become so obsessed with capturing moments; maybe it’s because there are so few pictures of my mom, or that I don’t want to forget the story of our lives. Whichever, it drives me to make sure that our special and ordinary moments are documented as much as possible.
My children have learned to just smile and say cheese, no use arguing with me. Seriously, they can stop and pose at any given time and in most any situation, they are well trained.
There are many of you who can relate to me this holiday season as you’re also waving goodbye to your adult children, whether college-aged or not. They load up their cars and back out of the driveway and leave us to pick up the pieces of our heart and move on with our day-to-day lives.
It’s just the way it goes.
As I was waving goodbye to my son, following him on foot as he backed his car out of the driveway, a picture formed in my mind of my own parents waving goodbye when I was his age as I drove away happy and excited to return to my home away from home.
The thought left me with an even bigger lump in my throat.
When I reached the end of the driveway, I stood and watched his car become smaller and smaller as the distance separated us. I was waving occasionally, not knowing if he was looking back in his rear-view mirror or not; again I had such a clear picture of my own mom and dad standing, waving goodbye.
I want to take a minute to thank my dad, who is reading this I’m sure, and to remember my mom as I now understand how it must have felt watching my car get smaller and smaller as it sped down the road away from them.
Thank you, daddy, you’re the best. Wish I could thank mom, but I suspect already she knows.
Letting go isn’t easy but it’s so necessary.
I want to give my children permission to fly. Not that they need it, but I think they long for it. I think it makes them happier and well-adjusted to know that their parents believe in them and want them to pursue their hopes and dreams.
It’s a beautiful gift.
I stood there in the cold, as it is freezing in this part of the country today, smiling with tears rolling down my cheeks. I know he knows that I cry, but I try hard not to let him see it. So I kept the smile glued on my face until he was out of sight. And then I turned to walk back up the long driveway, it was then I allowed the tears to flow freely and I let myself live in that moment of heartbreak. I’ve learned not to stay there, but I needed to allow it for a moment.
We have to let ourselves grieve.
It’s funny though, at that very emotional moment, I found myself picking up a few pieces of garbage that had blown into the drive; and it made me laugh out loud at the lunacy of it all. There I was, an emotional wreck, crying the ugly cry, snubbing, runny nose the whole bit picking up trash while walking back to the house. I guess that’s just what we do, we keep pressing on through our tears; we keep living life, keep making the walk from the end of the driveway and keep picking up trash.
We live on through our tears.
Once I made my way through the back door and into the kitchen, I stood crying and looking for something to eat. I don’t know why, I wasn’t hungry. Why do I do that? Look for food or start cooking something? Maybe it’s because moms everywhere spend a lot of time feeding people. And cookies could make even the biggest boo-boo feel better when the kids were little. And, honestly, right then I had a boo-boo the size of my heart.
I think I may need a cookie right now.
As I stood there trying to compose myself by the kitchen counter, I began to realize how very alone I was physically at that moment. My youngest son was off with a friend, my daughter was in another town at work, my sister who lives down the street wasn’t home, and my husband was out of town and unavailable to me on the phone. My daddy was busy and my mama is in heaven. I thought to myself, how perfectly appropriate.
The Lord knows what we need to cause us to turn to Him.
Just this morning I read in my devotional that God longs to be our friend; not just our Savior, as wonderful as that is, he wants to be our friend, our companion.
So I cried out to Him and He did not disappoint.
Scripture tells me He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.
That is a balm to this mother’s heart.
If you’ve lived any time at all you’ve probably already noticed that life happens so quickly and in a moment it’s done. I want to remember all of these days, the beauty, the sorrow, the love, laughter, the tears, I live for it all.
All of these things make up my beautiful life, and I’m blessed.
And I bet you are too.
Take a minute to thank the Lord for all the good in your life today. Even if things are really hard right now, there is still something to thank God for. I don’t say that lightly, I know what it feels like to wonder if there will ever be good days again. But, looking for reasons to be thankful will only help you to lift your eyes to heaven and remember that someone other than you is in control and HE KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING.
Find hope in that truth today.
And, if your parents are living, thank them for all the times they said goodbye so you could say hello to your future.
It was a gift they gave to you.
Well, I guess I’m going to figure out what to do with myself now. I could dust or vacuum or any number of things…probably not.
I will probably go back in the kitchen and fix some food, I don’t know why, I guess it’s just what moms do.
“There are ‘friends’ who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”