Entering into the stage of young adulthood is a really challenging time for parents. It's not easy to see your kids grow up in a lot of ways. Decisions become bigger, consequences can be life-altering, and having less and less control takes a lot of getting used to. Letting go....praying and hoping they make good choices....learning when to give advice and when to just listen(and bite your tongue!)...it's all kind of emotionally exhausting.
After all, we have spent our whole lives loving, protecting, and raising these children that God has given to us. All those long days and sleepless nights and worries over whether they were eating the right way, doing well in school, had the right friends, (and so on because the list is probably endless) all of a sudden have a shelf life! Those little ones with tiny fingers and toes are now as tall as, or bigger than us!
These new young adults, so excited to jump into their quickly expanding lives full of seemingly endless possibilities, can't seem to understand why us parents aren't as quick to show excitement about all this impending change! I know that it's hard for me to balance the joy to see my children turning into young men and women with the ache in my heart over what their growing up and out means for me.
Right now, it's Jon who has jumped with both feet into his post high-school life. Starting college, working, meeting new friends, joining different clubs, thinking about doing a semester abroad in Germany(it's so far away with so much turmoil happening in the world!).....lots of new opportunities that are happening at lightning speed! I am excited to see what plans God has for his life. (Mike and Andrew's, too!) But, it's a challenge to embrace all the change and realize that we have reached a point of no return with our three oldest children....and Sarah's not far behind. (Oh, Lord, please give us strength!)
Mom's spend so much time carrying our children and being there to guard them as they learn to navigate the world on their own. Being sidelined to the role as cheerleader is not an easy transition.
You may wonder, Jon, why it seems that it's so hard for me to "let go".
Well, that's because to us....
You will always be that baby that I pulled close to me as you gave your first cry and I said, "It's ok. Mommy's here.", as tears threatened to roll down your father's face.
You will always be that toddler with the mischievous look in your eye making your older brothers scream as you toddled away with their toy cow.
You will always be that little boy that crawled into bed and twirled my hair while you went back to sleep.
You will always be that little two year old with a sweet voice so full of happiness after a two days away from you after the birth of your first sister as you found me sleeping in my bed, "Mama you home!".
You will always be that little boy that gently touched my cheeks and said softly, "Mama I want you be happy.", as I grieved 14 days later when that sister went home to God.
You will always be the snuggler.....quick to hug.....the full of energy child that was quick to love and quicker to tease.
You will always be the boy that hated to lose so much that you made up your own rules mid-game.
You will always be the boy that I spent several sleepless nights with because of the pain of a broken collar bone.
You will always be the preteen that was always chatting with friends....serving so reverently at the alter....and not afraid to show and share a faith that is as much a part of you as we are.
You will always be the teenager that was ....driving around in the 'Bishi'... obsessed with pizza from Riccardi's....filled with big dreams to travel...and always trying to coordinate get togethers because you could never spend too much time with your friends
When you look in the mirror and see the confident, outgoing, handsome young man that you have become.....
.....know that when I see you the image is layered.
I am so proud of the confident, outgoing, handsome young man that I clearly see. But....my heart sees the newborn, the infant, the toddler, the pre-schooler, the elementary school boy, the pre-teen, and the teenager all at the same time.
That's why it's so hard for moms and dads to let go.....
We will continue to love, support and pray for you. We will all work through the changes and learn to adjust to the new ways we will relate to each other as you keep spreading your wings and make your world broader and wider as you begin all the adventures God has in store for you.
We are figuring out all the changes just like you are!
I know that part of the definition of successful parenting is working ourselves out of a job. I just can't say that I'm enjoying it all that much right now. Change is hard!
But....watching my sons growing into independent, successful young men is priceless.
(Thank God for girlfriends to share a drink with! Bring on the wine coolers...well, cooler....my friends all know I'm a cheap date! I have no alcohol tolerance after all those years being pregnant and nursing!)