I have been fighting a bout of insomnia by avoiding reflection. It rarely works, which is why last night I just sat there in silence with God to figure it out.
I missed an end-of-July deadline for a devotional series (Romal, it’s getting done. I SWEAR!) I barely made the deadline for another blog (apologies to my family since we technically were on vacation). I had a moment of panic as the posting schedule for another site went up. Did I forget that deadline, too? No, I did not. I just completely forgot what I wrote about. I’m fairly certain I missed the deadline for my annual ministry plan.
I don’t work better under pressure. I just work. Knowing there is a set “end” puts the idea of a goal into focus, but sitting in that 2 a.m. silence it was deeper than those deadlines I heard God trying to get through my fearful heart. Summer ends soon, and so with some denial and regret I looked at the calendar on our fridge.
Two weeks from today my sons return to school as a high school sophomore and a seventh grader, both having adding inches to their height and a summer of video games to their enrichment. I hear my older son’s voice, and I don’t recognize it. I catch their reflections in a mirror, and I have to look harder to see their baby faces. But they will still wake up in their beds and leave those beds every morning unmade. They are still home.
Three weeks from today we will drop off my daughter at her freshman dorm and then drive away holding back tears and snot. I am going to guess that four weeks from today I will have met that missed July deadline, turned in a ministry plan, washed my daughter’s sheets, and closed the door to her room.
It’s so true. The days are long but the years are short. All those times I wanted to tell older women to stop telling me to appreciate the school years? I’M SORRY! YOU WERE RIGHT! I WAS WRONG! I DIDN’T KNOW! I WAS SO TIRED AND CRANKY! I can still physically recall the exhaustion, anxiety, stress, and numbness of those infant-baby-toddler-preschool, breastfeeding, diaper changing, sleep training, nap dropping, potty training years. The ridiculous stress, anxiety, and #firstworldprivilegedparentingprobs of standardized tests, class placement, team sports, friendship drama, GPAs, and socialization remain as we add on a new frontier of young adulthood and college student parenting. The conversations about drinking, drugs, sex, faith, relationships, and overall decision-making shift into a new space for our daughter and for us as parents, for me as her mother. The physicality of parenting – the late-night feedings, the diapers, the baths – shifted dramatically as they became more independent, and I regained healthier sleep habits until she started driving and then driving without the restrictions of a newly licensed driver because I was waiting up for her to come home.
Three weeks. Three weeks and then we will be the ones driving away to go home.
I know this is what I am supposed to do. I am so excited for her and proud of her. I know in my heart this is what it looks like to trust God, and that is what I’ll be counting on when we drive away and head straight for some restaurant in Manhattan for food, tears, a toast, and a prayer. I know that this is gift for her and for us, a continuation of the privilege of being a parent. I know she will miss us even if she doesn’t call, text or Snapchat within the first 24-72 hours of our departure. I know she will have moments of buyers’ remorse, and I will wish we had demanded she go to school closer. I know this isn’t the privilege of most young 18-year-old women and 43-year-old moms. I know that letting her go has been the point of all of this.
But where in the world did all that freaking time go?
Three weeks. I just never thought it would come so soon.
I can relate to what you are saying. I cried just reading your post. We take Madeline a week from Friday. We have the grandparents and aunt and uncle coming over Sunday for our last family dinner for awhile….
We can hug over a glass of wine in September
September is just around the corner! You’ve been on my mind and prayers knowing you’ve already dropped Madeline off, moved her in, and come back to a different home. I’m counting on the glass of wine and hug!
Virtual hugs to you. Remember, we are rain checked for coffee one day in God’s future. I am glad I am not crying alone…we are t-minus two weeks to deliver ours to college and that too will escape us so quickly. As campus minister moms, we will know all too soon if our eagerness to encourage other moms who have given their children to us is a comfort for us today. Thanks for the reminder that God is good, and all too soon, be comforted that after graduating and not being able to find jobs, our girls will be back with us.
Hugs to you as well. You and your daughter are in my thoughts and prayers as you are most likely hours away from or into dropping your daughter off at college. Yes, it is an interesting turn of events as we have welcomed multiple classes of students to our campuses asking students and their parents to trust us and mostly trust God that these years are precious and a privilege.
Right there with you! You would think it gets easier with the third one, but nope! First one was definitely brutal however, especially far away and to a big city. Thankfully God is in New York, Los Angeles, Ithaca, Northfield as well as Chicago and Madison, and is vigilantly watching over our babies.. The discipline of letting go is not easy but pays off with a healthy relationship with our adult children.
Sharon, thank you for the warning and reminder. I have to remember it’s not supposed to be easier but it always requires faith remembering God loves our babies more than we ever could. And I thankfully have my eyeliner tattooed so it never smudges or smears when I cry.
kathy, we are at the very beginning of this journey, yet reading your post fast-forwarded me 18 years with tears streaming down my face then (and now). i remember when the sound of my brother’s voice was no longer the same and i just thought it “weird”. i can’t imagine how it will feel when i hear the change in my sons’… thanks for your reflection and wise words, i must tuck them away for when the day comes!
I have been finding myself staring at my children lately. Every now and then I get a glimpse of their “baby days” and enjoy the moment where the past intersects with the present. What a gift.