October 14, 2007

From the Riverbank...

My eldest daughter Haley has turned 20. This means that I have been a mother for TWENTY years! That's half my life! (give or take a couple of years :^) That’s hitting me hard. Not because I feel old but mainly because I’ve entered into a new season of my life and I don’t feel ready for it. I don’t feel completely willing for this transition to take place.

Normally I would have waited until I had already made the transition to blog; when I had a nice neat sermon typed up, cataloging all of the deep revelations and conclusions I’ve formed. Well I’m not going to wait until then because I have no clue how long it will take. Plus I’m tired of communicating only from a standpoint of closure. Life is rarely like that…all wrapped up, summed up, with a nice pretty bow and filed away with a neat little label. I’m rarely at that place. I’m usually where I am now- in the middle of sorting something out. And having never been here before, I am feeling my way as I go.

Being a mom has defined me for so long. Having always homeschooled, I’ve been with my kids more than anybody else. Every thought and dream and plan has always included and considered the children; considered us as a family. I almost don't know who I am without them. They captured my heart from the moment I laid eyes on their little faces. Even in the other things I have done with my life, being their mother has not been something I've done... it's been entwined in my marrow, in the very depth of who I am. I couldn't separate myself from that anymore than I could change my DNA.

I am fulfilled as a wife. Although my relationship with Keith has grown through the years, the very nature of our relationship is well definied and will basically stay the same. Not so with my relationship with my children. I don’t know how to be a mother to an adult. I know of course, that I can’t mother Haley like I did when she was younger. Yet I’ll obviously always be her mother. That mother thing burns in your heart and it is a love that is stronger than death. It’s not something I can turn off now that we’ve entered a new season. Everything that involves my children, interests me still- as much, if not more than what concerns me. My heart is bound up with them and it always will be. But I have to learn to express it in different ways. Yet something in me mourns at that change. I realize that is selfish. That is focusing on me and my desire to mother like I want rather than on what THEY need… but I’m just trying to keep it real here. This is where I am. But I know that I will work through this... I always do… (just taking you on the journey with me :^)

I wonder if it will get easier as each one leaves the nest? Will I become an old pro like those people in the commercial who wave at their son as he drives off to college and then before he’s out of sight, they joyfully dismantle his room and turn it into the bonus room they always wanted?

I seriously doubt it!

I am SO proud of Haley. I rejoice with her growing into the Godly young lady she has become. She’s found a wonderful young man who she’ll be marrying sometime next year. He is so like Keith. Josh will treat her like a treasure, just like Keith treats me. I am so thankful for their relationship. But I miss her already. It wasn’t an overnight change but the transition has been happening slowly over the last few years. So slow that I barely noticed it. But it is upon us now.

When I was so stressed out with toddlers and babies, why didn’t I treasure the time more? Everyone who’d gone before me told me that they grow up in a blink of an eye. But like the young mothers I tell that to today, you just cannot see it when you’re in it.. Maybe you’re not suppose to. Someone once likened it to a cowboy fording a swollen river with his herd. He doesn’t stop in the middle of the rushing river to take a photograph. He has to get them safely to the other side. He can reflect on the journey then. I guess that’s what happens. I guess I’m on the other side with Haley and I’m looking back and I’m sort of sad. How did I come to get here so quickly? But I know... in time...that will be replaced with acceptance and a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. As for today, I treasure every toy I trip over. I know that Spiderman and Barbie's days in my house are drawing to a close. That makes me profoundly sad. But I will adjust, I know I will. I'm just "at where I'm at" today.

This side of the river that I'm on as a mom is unfamiliar ground. Haley is 20 and will marry this year, Max is 17. The twins will be 13 on their next birthday. I don’t have little kids anymore. I never will again. BUT the end of one season is also the beginning of another one. I have no idea what that entails and what the blessings and challenges will be this side of the river, but I am here, like it or not. What I DON'T want to do is to keep looking back at yesterday and to miss the season I’m in today. I don't want to miss the beauty of this new place by gazing across the river at where we've been... Some Moms seem to transition into this seamlessly, but not me. It's a painful transition. But all I hear all over the Body of Christ is- TRANSITION! SHIFTING! So I guess I'm not transitioning alone! But bear with me. Pray for me. And any of you who have gone before me on this journey, please share your photographs from the riverbank with me! I need all the help I can get! :^)

God bless.