Our youngest child turns 18 today. Gulp.
My mothering days are numbered. Can I just say how much I have loved being an everyday mom? I cannot believe that the time I have left to fill that role can now be numbered in months.
“Your kids will always need their mom,” say some. Yes, yes (insert slight eye-roll), but come on, the role changes dramatically, as it should, when kids reach adulthood! It’s wonderful, it’s exciting, but it’s not the same, and sameness is what my heart calls out for when I miss what has come and gone.
Recently, I spent some time reading anecdotes I’d recorded about our children’s antics in their early years. I cried, and my heart ached awhile, but I had to come back to the present and accept that then, as sweet as it was, is not where we are now.
This is a life theme that comes easily to some but that the rest of us simply must adopt. I am learning to embrace the time and place my Father-God grants me. And as I release, I stumble upon a comforting truth: letting go and embracing the God-appointed here-and- now allows my vision to clear to see need and opportunity, blessing and joy all-round me. Indeed, we can always count on our Father-God to find a place for us to invest our time and energy. He is not one to waste anything, anyone or any time.I wrote the following poem about a month ago, after spending time with our older two grown-up children who are thriving far away, building independent lives. I pray God’s blessing on my children, on your children, on all children and all those moms and dads who are learning to let go.
I Couldn’t See
I don’t recognize these memories we’re making.
Dreams of motherhood
Long one-way road trips,
Heart in my throat,
To drop you off
In a faraway city
To begin a new adventure on your own.
Look far enough into the future
To the place
Where you would assemble
With whom you would share
Your triumphs, your tears, your fears,
Your ordinary days.
My imagination didn’t extend to
Dinners you would cook
And serve me on your rooftop
In your urban paradise
That appears a jungle to me,
A thousand miles from home
Where strangers and commerce
Bustle and bang about the sidewalk.
I couldn’t anticipate you dropping me
Off at the airport
Or returning home without you.
Pausing at your empty room
So quiet now,
Your presence lingers,
But only because of
The little things you left behind-
That which you could do without.
As proud as I am of who you’ve become,
With heart near bursting for all you’ve done,
I’m having to find a way to celebrate
It’s just all so unfamiliar
When I’ve known you
Since before you took a breath,
Your “little” years gobbled up
By the bigger and the better.
I feel like life sped off in a big. rumbling rig
And I’m standing in a cloud of dust left behind.
Part of me wants to go with you.
But I know that the Father of us all
Calls you onward and outward,
And I want His good and perfect plan.
So, forgive me if my voice falters
As I smile and swallow some sadness.
It just takes a little time.
Gratefulness will do its grace-filled work,
To steady the heart
And dry the tears.
And sure enough,
As I slip my hand into your dad’s,
His strength warming and optimistic,
I smile at the scene.
For, this is where it all began.
Here I’ll wait for the dust to settle,
Embrace my own, appointed journey,
And bless you on your way.
kpeterson Sept. 4, 2013