Tuesday, August 03, 2010

How time flies and other things I do not understand

I don't know what kind of blog I write here. Certainly I could never be accused of prolific mommy blogging. I don't know why I don't blog much about the kids because they definitely take up the majority of my time and thoughts. Maybe that's the reason right there. And then when I do write about some aspect of mothering, my oldest son seems to assume a prominent role. Again, I don't know why except for the fact that while all my children are loved and esteemed and respected with the same furious passion, there is something unique about the unchartered territory that accompanies the firstborn. And, hello, visiting college campuses is definitely unchartered territory.

Yes, that's correct. This summer marked a first for us: we visited a college campus as parents of a prospective college student. During the informational session (which was very good, by the way), I texted my husband (who was sitting four children apart from me): "I look younger than the rest of these moms right?" He asserted via a return text that I did though privately I have my doubts. Parents of prospective college students have to be old(er) arithmetically speaking. The math doesn't lie.

We joked that by the time our number four son is ready to investigate his collegiate options he can take his own self on a tour, he will have seen so many by then. Not to mention the fact that his parents will certainly be tired and worn out (and old) by then.

How did we get here? Wasn't it only yesterday that I was sending my oldest off to kindergarten, he and I both stoic, his younger brother the one in tears? I mean, I know that time flies and all that but who could know it flies so fast and so furiously? I am not exaggerating when I tell you that sometimes I wish so badly for my kids to be small again that it is nearly a physical ache. I miss their littleness. Yes, it was hard. Yes, there were days I thought I would lose my mind. Yes, I couldn't wait for them to dress themselves, feed themselves, bathe themselves--and now he can even drive himself (yes and amen) and now there are days I wish it all back again.

I didn't know how fast that stage of my life would pass. If truth be told, I was scared it would last forever.

It didn't.

I am so proud of my son. True, we have our share of heated exchanges and sometimes I worry myself silly--and for good reason--but when I hear him introduce himself to a group of other prospective students with an air of maturity and self possession that I forget he has, well, I am so proud and I am so humbled to be granted the privilege to navigate the unchartered territory of parenthood with such a great kid who loves the Lord Jesus with such determination. His dad and I are blessed. Confused, at times irritated and frustrated, overwhelmed, unsure, and desperately needing wisdom, but blessed.

Grace. It's all grace. From beginning to end.

I know that I don't really wish him nor his brothers little again, not when I think rationally instead of emotionally. I've told you before of my friend's words of wisdom that remind me "we raise 'em to let 'em go." And so we do. And so I do. It's not any easier, parenting teenagers and prospective college students. In fact, it's as horrible as you've been told. Navigating these unchartered waters, seeing the days fly by in quick succession, knowing my time is short, and understanding better than ever my failures and regrets--all show me my desperate need for a Savior. I haven't been enough. I'm not enough. I wasn't enough then when I wished my kids' babyhood away; I'm not enough now when I struggle to relinquish control and trust my son (and the Holy Spirit to do His good work of conviction).

"I can't do this," I thought then.

"I can't do this," I know now.

I need grace. I need the assurance that accompanies trust in a God who knows all things, sees all things, and works all things according to the counsel of His will. I need wisdom to teach and peace to let go. I need forgiveness. I need mercy. I need faith. I do believe; overcome my unbelief!

It was more than strange to walk a college campus and realize anew that one day soon and very soon (two years is soon!) my son will leave home. It's strange. It's surreal. I will still wish for him to be little again but I pray I will also be confident that the Lord who began the good work--in parents and son both--will indeed bring it to completion.

Grace. It's all grace. From beginning to end.

To God be the glory.

12 comments:

  1. I love this and can so relate. Except my son is a year ahead of yours and STILL hasn't visited a campus!

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  2. Excellent post! I just thank the Lord for what He's already done and what He's going to do in your lives.

    (this is really good -- tweak it for publication and submit it somewhere)

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  3. Good for him for getting such a head start! On another note, I totally teared up reading this post because Drew and I were just talking yesterday about how big Andrew is getting. Even at 3 1/2, I miss his "littleness." He's growing so fast. I look at him and think "how are you almost 4?!"

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  4. Oh Lisa, I think you and I would be good friends if we lived near one another. I had the worst time when my girls were babies. I thought it would never end. Oh, that was hard!

    But just yesterday I sent my first off to college (and I was the youngest mom there by FAR!! ha!) and it is equally as hard. I was determined not to cry, and yet the tears came. And she's only going down the street! :)

    We'll have lots to blog about in these next few years!

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  5. Beautifully written, and the reminder I need daily to cherish these moments when mine are still little. Thanks!

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  6. I love this post! Now that my DH and I are adopting an 8yo, we figured out that by the time she leaves our home we will have been raising kids for 35 years! Yes, we "raise them to let them go". I'm glad for that in so many ways. It's fun watching the older ones navigate their young adult lives.

    Susan

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  7. You made me cry. I am so overwhelmed with how not enough I am and have been and so ashamed of how irritated I used to be by those wiser older moms who told me to enjoy every moment because it goes so quickly. I am beginning to understand them much better now. I am so very humbled by His grace and mercy.

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  8. I'm a bit older with kids, grandkids and greats, too. And my suggestion is that we mothers petition Congress to pass a law (as if we need any more laws on the books!!!) that once a year, for 24 hours, on the day of our choosing, we can have our children back as their sweet toddler self. Oh, how lovely they were to us then. Oh, for another glimpse and another hug! But, no, that is not how God designed time and so we must move on.

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  9. I'm in total and complete agreement with this post! You did an excellent job.

    Oh how I wish my girls were little again! But my baby girl is graduating high school this May ....

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  10. Beautifully written, and the reminder I need daily to cherish these moments when mine are still little. Thanks!

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  11. Oh Lisa, I think you and I would be good friends if we lived near one another. I had the worst time when my girls were babies. I thought it would never end. Oh, that was hard!

    But just yesterday I sent my first off to college (and I was the youngest mom there by FAR!! ha!) and it is equally as hard. I was determined not to cry, and yet the tears came. And she's only going down the street! :)

    We'll have lots to blog about in these next few years!

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