When my kids were tiny, my mom would always tell me to enjoy those years, those tiring, sleepless years, because they would soon be gone and with them the sweetness of my little babies. I heard her, but I didn’t really listen to her. Those years gave way to more years, and as my kids came on up in school and we found ourselves keeping up with the schedules and demands of a growing family, again she would say, “Enjoy these years. Before you know it your kids will be grown and they won’t need you so much.” I heard her. But, again, I didn’t really listen. I was too busy trying to keep up with all I was trying to accomplish to focus much on the message in her words.
Last week my husband asked me if it freaked me out that our oldest son is scheduled to graduate from college this month. I stared at him kind of blankly and said, “No”. I said no because I haven’t really taken the time to think about it much. I know that my son is stressed. He’s working a full time job, going to school full time and in a relationship. These have been endless days for him, and I am glad that school is leaving his plate. I am so happy for him that I have not taken the time to think about how I feel about the whole thing.
The mirror tells me that time is fleeting. Every day, every year, that passes is gone for good. There is no going back, and no recapturing days that are long gone. I bet you’re feeling pretty good about now, aren’t you? Hang in there, this is not an attempt to ruin your day, I promise.
I look in the face of my oldest son, and I can still remember his fat little baby face. I can see the determination in his eyes at seven years old. I remember the days of driving him to music lessons, teaching him to drive, talking to him about life and relationships, and leading him to be a committed follower of Jesus. Each day and each moment is written in the history books.
My mom was right. All four of my kids are nearly grown, and they don’t really need me so much anymore. But all those days and nights, all that time investing in who they are doesn’t impact the past… it changes the future.
I’m 48 years old. I look in the mirror and it doesn’t lie. I’m not 25 anymore, but that’s okay. It is what it is. Maybe my kids don’t need me like they did when they were little, but thank God for that. I don’t think I could do it now, not like I did then. It is far less a physical demand to mother now as it is an emotional, mental, and spiritual one. Did you hear about the German woman who at 65 years old is pregnant with quadruplets? On purpose!?
I think if I know anything about this mothering thing at all, this is the way it’s supposed to go. We begin with our children simply being desired. They are an idea, a longing, already loved in our hearts and minds before we ever lay an eye on them. When we finally hold them in our arms, that love grows beyond any bounds we had ever imagined. We invest in, care for, and nurture them through years of life experiences until they stand on the edge of adulthood, looking back at us, before taking that leap into their own adventure… the one we only get to watch.
Then we begin to say things like, “They never call.” Or when they do call we say things like, “When will I get to see you? You never come to visit.” At least, those are the things I hear from my own mother.
I am reminded that raising children is just part of my adventure, an important part, but it is not the entire story. Everything I’ve done, all the experiences I have had have brought me to this place in life. I am where I am by no accident. If you ask me to tell you about myself, the first thing I will say is that I am a wife and mother. I love those things, but that is not all that I am. Most importantly, I am a daughter of the King, and that means there are more things to come, things He has planned for me to do. This is just part of life in the fast lane.
I left my own mother’s nest a long time ago, and my adventure isn’t over yet… and if you are still breathing, neither is yours.