Too many changes are happening at once. Good changes, but ones that are causing a shift in my thinking, variation to my schedule, adjustment to this season of parenting.
Just last week, my oldest, Chase, returned to school after a seven week absence. As I watched him walk through the middle school doors, backpack slung over his shoulder and slight limp to his gait, my bottom lip quivered more than it did on his first day of kindergarten. It was time, and he was ready, even if I was not. How could he possibly make his way through the day without me?
My middle son, Chandler, a rising middle school student, will graduate from fourth grade later this week. I didn’t have to help him with class projects or assist him in studying for tests. He completed the year with ease, rarely needing my intervention, making wise choices without my persuasion But still, how can he be ready for this monumental transition?
My youngest, eight year old Mary Mac, participated in the second grade school play. As terrible timing would have it, I was at Emory with Chase during the performance. Although my husband was in the audience, I couldn’t fathom how my daughter would be able to go on stage without me. I’ve never missed an event of hers – EVER – and the idea of her performing her part while I was not present would surely end in disaster.
But they all did well. Very well.
Chase had a fantastic return to school. He was overjoyed to see his friends and enthusiastic about reconnecting with teachers. He was able to steady the periodic stumble and ignore ever present pain. Normalcy felt good, but suited his recovery even better.
Chandler is maturing without my prodding and holding himself with confidence absent of my worry. He continues to achieve academically without my interference and is more than ready to be a middle school student.
Mary Mac recited her lines perfectly. She was poised and confident, without the slightest hesitation, speaking rehearsed lines as though they were her own. The smile on these faces afterwards reaffirmed her theatrical success.
Our children are growing up right before our very eyes, sprouting taller between each blink. They are thriving despite my glaring inadequacies and doing well in their individual endeavors without my constant meddling. Altogether this is a good thing, but I’m not sure I like it.
When did they become such independent creatures with original thoughts and ideas, motivated by good rather than the mischievous?
My husband reminded me that this is what we wanted. From the beginning it was our desire to nurture and guide and love them through the various stages, some that were agonizing and brought us to our knees and others that were celebratory and made us jump to our feet.
But there is still a sting that accompanies full engagement in this time that careens us by, that yearning to bring it all to a screeching halt, though unrealistic and unnatural, and not at all the desire of our children.
Baby birds recently hatched in our front porch fern, in a nest meticulously and thoughtfully crafted by their hard working mama. Each day, we watched as the babies were tended to, cared for and protected by those who love them.
I couldn’t help but get teary when only a week later the nest was empty. The baby birds discovered their wings and flew off towards the life meant for them, the life prepared for them in advance by their Maker.
While we are far from finished with our own children, I realized with a lump in my throat, that with each passing year, we nudge them a little closer to the edge of the nest. The day is coming when they each will fly, with wings that are confident and sure, and with firm knowledge that God will provide the necessary courage and strength. They will soar with joy and freedom and purpose just like they were always meant to do, and I will watch them go with tears in my eyes, heart hurting yet full that we accomplished the task He so generously asked us to complete.
But I still won’t like it one stinking bit.
Don’ cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.