In February, we were invited by my parents on a wonderful Disney vacation. It was mid 80's the WHOLE time we were there which, after the cold winter we have had, was amazing! (As I write this, we are staring down our fourth nor'easter in 1/2 as many weeks. I am missing those 80 degree days!)
Kate just says the cutest, heartfelt things. While in Disney, Kate and I were 'ride buddies' for the Ariel ride in the Magic Kingdom. During the ride when Ariel is facing her dilemma of being a mermaid but in love with a human, Kate looked at me and, with a very matter of fact tone said, "Mommy, people just need to live their own lives."
Then, just this morning, Kate and I were driving back from a doctor's visit, and we were discussing what movie she would like to watch together so she could rest. (She's been sporting a low grade fever and a nasty cold since Friday). I suggested Moana, because we own it but we haven't watched it in a while and it's more of a "girl" movie and there were no brothers home at the time. Kate said,(with an incredulous tone), "Moana's parents don't want her to leave the island. Didn't they know that the water was her friend?!? It called her!"
Out loud, I reminded Kate that Moana's Dad lost his best friend when he tried to leave the island so he was just afraid that something bad would happen to Moana. He was just trying to keep her safe.
Inside my head and my heart, I have to admit that I kind of like Moana's Dad's plan just a little. Or maybe even more than a little if I'm completely honest!
Our family is standing on the brink of some enormous change! In just two short months, there will be two additional college graduates in the house. Andrew has already secured his first real job after he attended a recent job fair. God's fingerprints are all over this new opportunity that will start right after his May graduation. I think Andrew's plan is to live at home for at least a little while to pay down some of his college loans more quickly, but I don't foresee it being all that long until he ventures out to live in one of his best friend's apartment.
|Andrew and Kate|
|Jon and his girlfriend, Marisa|
Yes...Moana's father and I could be VERY good friends...
Mike is looking to spread his wings a little farther than the apartment that's 5 minutes away from us. A new job and a new adventure are right around the corner for him, we just don't know all the details yet.
|Mike and me|
|Sarah, me, and Ellie|
I am in denial...and shock.
So many different emotions swirl through me every day. I am proud of the paths my kids have chosen so far. I'm excited for all these new opportunities that are opening up before them. Their eyes are open wide and all their senses ready for all these new adventures and to see where life will bring them. The small world that had their family as the center is now expanding rapidly. I know we will always be a part of their lives, but we are no longer the center. My role for my older crew is less and less of a caretaker and more and more that of a cheerleader.
I know that, as a parent, this place that I am right now with my older crew is progressing exactly as it should be. I am so grateful for that. But it's also incredibly painful! Change...even good change...is not easy. There is much grief mixed with the joy because life as I have lived for the last 25 years is ending. My identity is changing. The way I relate to my older kids is changing. Slowly over the last several years, I have started to let go and they have taken the reigns of their own lives. I offer ideas, and suggestions, and advice, but then back away to let them make the decisions. Before too long, the big decisions they make will be completely on their own...and eventually with their spouses.
I look at Ellie and I know that her high school years will go by incredibly fast. The slow letting go process has already begun. I try to ignore it...but I can't stop it no matter how much I might want to some days.
|Marisa, Jon, and Ellie|
|Peter and Mike|