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Please Allow Me to be Philosophical

I promise that all of my posts won’t be dreary, but I will ask that you bear with me as I work through this “letting go of kids” thing.

I never used to think too deeply about issues.

In fact, I pretty much took them at face value; however, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started reflecting more.

I’ve found, though, that reflecting on why I feel a certain way about something helps me to understand myself better.

Such an “aha” kind of thing to learn, eh?

Some of you might be slapping your heads and wondering why in the world you bother to read the ramblings of one who so obviously has no clue about life.

I wonder why, sometimes, I bother to put it out here and, thus, make myself sound rather dumb.

But I do because it’s my therapy.

I also do this because I’m genuine.  My mind keeps wanting to use the word “transparent,” but that makes it sound like I’m superficial, which I definitely am not.

So, back to my reflecting…about not having children at home and why it’s so painful for me.

Gosh.  I cannot type this without crying.

Ugh.

Walking into Rooster’s room when I got home from taking him to Auburn was like purposely walking into a boxing ring, knowing that a champion was about to sucker punch me.

I didn’t know what else to do, though, because HE had spent so much time in that room (more so as a teenager), that I felt like a part of him was still there.

And it is…in the items he has collected over the years…in the words he wrote for English and history assignments (which I found when straightening things up).

Why does the separation from my children, Chicky included, hurt so badly?

Aside from missing their physical selves, I’m finding myself in a very transitional time of my life.

It’s been coming, and I’ve known it.

I think the Lord has prepared me for it as well by leading me to become a teacher.

But the void of my own children’s physical presence in my life leads me to reexamine myself and who I really am…my identity, if you will.

I married at the tender age of 19 years old, and two years later, I had Chicky.  I followed that up two years later by giving birth to Rooster.

I have spent almost 22 years of my life investing nearly all of my energy and attention into taking care of children.

Twenty-two years is a long time.

Habits are formed after twenty-one days.

That is why leaving my babies at college dorms has so hard for me.

Because I’ve spent all of those years checking foreheads for fever, plugs and stoves for safety devices, homework folders for missed assignments, and closet doors for monsters, I’m finding that I can’t just suddenly STOP.

And dropping off those babies forced me to do just that…in an instant.

I’ve spent twenty-two years having adventures with my children…watching as they encountered new things such as new foods, new friends, new hobbies, and deepening faith.

As they’ve gotten older, their teenage angst at having me in their faces all of the time forced me to the sidelines, where I joined other parents who, like me were still privvy, albeit from a distance, to special moments, disappointing hurts, and everything in between.

How do you stop doing this from up close, like in the same town?

This is where the tears flow.

If I could find a way, I’d invent the College Cam…a way to become a fly on the walls of a college child’s life.

Only parents of college children would know about the device as the instant that a child is taken to college, the parents become instantly aware of the device and can watch their children meet new friends, encounter crazy professors who require 100 pages of reading and an essay every week, and go through Rush.

The kids?

They wouldn’t know about the device until they become parents themselves.

I say all of this to lighten the mood because my heart is still so heavy.

So much of who I am is tied into my children’s lives…into their joys and their sorrows.

I feel as if I’ve got to suddenly switch gears and change who I am.

The Mr. told me, when we were talking about this on Sunday, that it’s yet another change.

Folks, I’ll be honest with you.

I do not do well with change.

I am not a go-with-the-flow kind of girl.

I am very much like Chicky who wants to know what my day will entail, who I will play with, and what I will eat for dinner.

I color inside the lines.

If you move the lines, I cannot adjust and will cry.

I’m not kidding.

I have to ask myself if this is an issue of trust.

Do I trust that the Lord is looking out for my babies?

When I worry about them remembering to move their cars from one parking lot to another (so they won’t get a ticket), is this trust?

When I worry about them taking their Juice Plus (kind of like vitamin supplements), do I trust them to make the right decision?

And what if they don’t?  To both questions?

Can I accept their decisions and move on.

Because they aren’t completely in my care anymore.

Ugh.

I keep telling myself it’s not about control, and it really isn’t, for my concerns stem from LOVE…and wanting what’s best for my children.

But my issues go deeper…way beyond my children’s day-to-day choices.

As I look at my life, I think to myself that, Lord willing, I still have forty to fifty years to live.

I’ve already lived about half of my life (again, Lord willing).  What will my life look like in ten years?  What will my identity be at that time?

I want to believe that I won’t be pining away for my children.

Probably a small part will, but I know I’ll be used to things by then.

I’ll be at a new stage of my life.

I don’t want to be stubborn, and I don’t want to fight this.

It’s a losing battle, for I refuse to clip my children’s wings.

I refuse to do anything that goes contrary to supporting them despite my great desire to turn back time about ten years and freeze things there.

These are the thoughts I’m grappling with.

I feel a bit abnormal because I’ve talked to parents who said they were happy to let their children go.

That’s not bad, mind you, but it isn’t ME.

I remember after I had Rooster, and I decided to figure out how old I would be when he would turn eighteen and leave home.  Mind you, I counted on my fingers because mental math and I do not get along well (as in accurate answers).

I remember saying, to myself and anyone who would listen, “I’ll be 42 when Rooster graduates high school and goes to college.”

And it seemed like a long way off.

And all of a sudden, it wasn’t.

It happened.

It’s crazy, and I cannot wrap my head around it.

I’m thankful for a merciful God who doesn’t ask me to understand everything but just to trust Him.

And there’s that word again.

Trust.

Maybe that’s what everything boils down to.

Trust in Him to watch out for my babies.

Trust in Him to help me through these changes.

Trust in Him to use this to shape who I WILL BE in the years to come.

Trust is not something I do easily.

Oh, those who see me on a daily basis may think I’m a trusting gal because I talk so much, but I’m not.

Too many hurts in my life have hindered my ability to trust easily.

Sigh.

Praise the Lord that He isn’t done with me yet.

Praise the Lord that He doesn’t ask me to be perfect.

Even when my philosophical ramblings go crazy.

If you’ve read to the bottom of this post, I thank you.  If not, you’re forgiven.

I’ll be fine.

In God’s time, not mine, though.

I’ll just have to trust in that too.

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3 Responses

  1. My precious friend…I am bawling right now because your words hit so incredibly close to home. You captured every emotion I’m going through right now perfectly. Today is Brittany’s last day here at home. She’s been here for 3 glorious months and we’ve shared so many wonderful times together. Oh, there have been stressful times, as well, but I wouldn’t trade any of it for a single moment.

    Each year that she leaves, I see her becoming more and more independent. This, in fact, is the first year that she hasn’t wanted me to be there to help her move in to her apartment…and it hurts somewhat. She wants to be able to do it on her own, so I have to step back and allow that to happen. It wouldn’t be right for me to impose, even though I want to.

    With her being a juniior this year and Abby in 10th grade, I’m feeling more worrisome than ever. I know that in just a few short years, my time as a stay-at-home mom will come to a screeching halt. Like you, that’s all I’ve done and known for the past 20+ years. My girls have practically become the center of my existence. I wake up ready to take care of them, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and I go to bed each night the same way. When that’s taken from me, I have no idea what I will do. Will my husband and I have anything in common, anymore? What will we talk about? It’s just going to be so weird! So, for now, I choose to live in denial that we’ll always be one, big happy family and that change won’t come our way, though, deep down…I know it will.

    Big hugs to you as you walk through this transitional period in your life. Just try to think about how your heart will leap for joy when you and your kids are together, again!

  2. I believe that your students are going to gain some very positive energy (and love) this fall. Trust me, many will need it and you are the girl to give it. I bet this is part of His plan.

  3. I can relate so well to what you’ve written, although I’m further along in the time line of raising children than you are so I have the blessing of perspective.

    First of all, letting them go is hard, but know that you never completely let them go. I find it challenging and frustrating to have big batches of time with my girls now that they are both out of uni. It helps me to remember myself at that age and how much I relished my independence and, at the same time, how much I loved my parents.

    God is good and He will give you what you need to transition into this next season of life. My prayer life grew by leaps and bounds when my girls went off to university. When you feel anxious, worried, or fearful (sometimes its just that mother radar) I encourage you to pray. There is something wonderfully comforting about handing over our cares to a God who I remind myself daily, loves my children more than I love my children. That thought truly boggles my mind.

    I wrote a post on the very subject (trust) you describe…it was early in my blogging days. Here’s the link if you’d like to read it-

    http://joyce-fromthissideofthepond.blogspot.com/2009/10/two-words.html

    My advice is to stay busy, especially initially. You will find a new routine and when they come home you’ll be thrilled but will also find your new routine upset : ) Life is funny. Hugs to you today!

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