Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It's All About Perspective

One of the things I've been really wrestling with over the last year is the reality that our children are getting older and life is changing(at least with the older teens...we started all over again, too!).  I have been living with the knowledge that the kids will not be part of our family in the way they always were in just a short time.  Already, jobs and girlfriends and drivers licenses have begun to change the way they participate in family life.  I realize it's a healthy and natural step in their development into young adults, but it's hard to let go!

It's happiness and grieving all at once.

There are two particular things that have touched my heart in my search for peace over these impending changes.  The first came from the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp.  She wrote,

"I watch the hands move grace on the clock face.  
I'm growing older.  These children growing up.  But time is not running out.
  This day is not a sieve, losing time. 
With each passing minute, each passing year, 
there's this deepening awareness that I am filling, gaining time."

What if, instead of looking at the growing older and eventual nest leaving as loss.....I look at it as gain?

Picture a giant colander.  I have been looking at life in a way that meant, as my children grow and leave, more of my life will seep through the holes and disappear until all that's left is the empty colander. 

But that's not really true.  My children growing up does not mean that everything we have experienced is gone.  Those relationships will still be there...they will just be different.  Our memories will still be there, too.  

Even if they aren't living in our house our bond will still be real and our relationship meaningful.  And, eventually, new relationships will grow to include spouses and grandchildren and, God willing, great grandchildren.  

So, here's my thought...
Rather than an empty colander....my life is like a beautiful trifle.  
Each stage just adds a new layer.  
My life is more, not less.

With this perspective, I can focus on rejoicing, not so much on grieving.  Enjoy where I'm at more completely instead of just fearing its end.  

I can embrace the words Fr. Dave gave as a quote at the talk I attended last week, which is the second thing that brought me peace:
"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."     


28 comments:

Raquel said...

Hi Michelle! Oh I know what you are going through! My kids are older and I have to say, it is really a beautiful thing to watch and love them as they grow into adults. It all goes by so fast doesn't it? There are still many treasured moments ahead....you'll see. Found you on SITS.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

what a wonderful way of looking at it!

Rebecca R. said...

This is wonderful!! I look at my son asleep in his crib sometimes and think about how he will be grown up one day. I will have to remember your words as he grows up!!

Shell said...

What a great perspective.

Holly said...

I read One Thousand Gifts too ... and that quote jumped out at me as well. Time does seem to be flying by and it's hard to not dwell on the passing. Your post is inspiring ...thanks for linking up with "Pay It Forward"

Nancy Shuman said...

I found this at Pay it Forward, and it's exactly what I needed today. I am now a grandmother, and I understand. And children are a marvelous adventure at EVERY stage!

Adrienne said...

Thank you for leaving me this. I smiled! This week, that's a big deal. I love the trifle and your perspective.

misssrobin said...

So very true. My kids are 14-21. For the most part, I have loved each stage they were in. But as my older two gripe about the decisions I make for our household I find myself ready for them to leap from the nest. Hm. Maybe I can change my perspective on that.

doseofreality said...

Such a beautiful way to see it. I needed this today, so thank you. :) Happy SITS day to you!

Kim@Co-Pilot Mom said...

I have never looked it time passing in this way before - I sometimes focus so much on the letting go of things. Thank you for this new perspective!

Emily Guthrie said...

As my son is getting older, I go through these range of emotions all the time. It is bittersweet. Thanks for your perspective.

Happy SITS Day!

Morgan said...

Motherhood is such a rollercoaster! We don't want time to pass to quickly, but we want the tough stuff to speed on by! I think the hardest times are when we get portraits done and I can catch a glimpse of what they will look like for their senior year ... and my heart catches and I want to freeze them in time!

Enjoy your SITS day!

anotherjennifer said...

This is a wonderful perspective. I will keep this in mind as my kids grow up!

Happy SITS Day!

Sheila Skillingstead said...

A great perspective changing post. Thank you for the inspiration. Happy SITS Day. http://www.eaglesclawsanctuary.com/2012/11/01/writing-a-new-month/

The Solley Six said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lydia said...

I love this perspective. I get sad as I realize that the 7 year old doesn't need me at the door with her Trick-or-Treating or that the 1 year old can do things without me. Time goes so quickly. But, I love the idea of seeing these moments as new layers. Happy SITS day!

Corinna said...

Visiting firm SITS and following you now!

Mommy's Always Write said...

I love that last quote - it's a great way to look at everything in life! My boys are only 2 and 4, so I can't speak from much experience yet, but I'm hoping (and counting on) that every age is enjoyable in a different way, including the older ages. Congrats on being featured on SITS!

Tricia said...

Oh I know that - happiness and grieving all at once. But I love your perspective. I love the idea of adding and not losing. I needed this today!

www.be-quoted.com said...

I SOOOO love the quote at the end of your post! Wonderful. Happy SITS day SITStah!

2busy said...

I am at this point that you fear. My oldest boys have left home and both live out of state. My daughter is the only one left at home, and at 14, she won't be around that much longer. I am having to rediscover my self and find my value in every day living.

angela porow said...

Happy sits day! Really awesome perspective! Congrats on your day.

Mothering From Scratch said...

{Melinda} Oh, I love this post!! The changing seasons in our lives just allow us to experience God's faithfulness and activity in our lives in a new way. My oldest turns 16 next month, so I have definitely moved into that "pulling away" time. And she will be an adult in two years. Yikes!

Happy SITS Day!

Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom said...

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened--awesome! My kids are 9 and 5 and it's hard to believe my oldest is half-way to college. I really do get the empty nest thing!

Sandy Bucholtz said...

It`s all about perspective, I couldn`t agree more :) Keep writing, you have a gift to share :)

jamie said...

Thanks for sharing this, Michelle! It's truly inspiring... :)

agapewoman said...

I'm right there with ya, watching them turn into young women.

homejobsbymom said...

That's good look into life that we all need to do