The other day, I was driving home and saw a man with two little girls. He was walking and they were running ahead of him. It brought me back to a point in our life where we would go for walks or take the kids on bike rides and let them go ahead of us with the understanding that they would stop at each intersection and wait for us. We were allowing them to have small bits of freedom.
This year has brought many changes for our family. I went back to work and started college again (22 years later...oy!). Sydney graduated from high school. Jacob completed middle school. And, London finished her last year of elementary school, which meant that after having a student at that school since 2002, I was done there too.
In mid-August, Jacob started high school. This past Monday, Sydney started college. And, the Tuesday after Labor Day, London will have her first day of middle school. Where does that leave me? It leaves me needing to let go a little. They are no longer waiting for me at the intersection. If I have done my job as their mother well, they will need me a little differently.
Parenting is such an odd thing. I was given these precious little gifts to love and to care for their basic needs. But ultimately, my goal is to raise them to know the truth of Jesus and to be independent adults. While I truly want them to learn to stand on their own two feet, I am a little sad to have life passing by so quickly.
The biggest lesson that I believe I have learned over the past few months is to be intentional.
We have worked to make our home a place where our children and their friends feel comfortable, a place where they feel free to open our cupboards and fridge and just help themselves.
We have learned that making memories is more important than buying them more stuff. Over the past few years, Christmas gifts have changed from being things to being experiences: concert tickets, game tickets, movie theater gift cards, vacations, ...
We have worked to have open communication with our children. They mess up. We mess up. There are consequences. We apologize and then forgive one another. They know that we love them unconditionally.
It is my hope that, because we have been intentional while building the relationships with our children, that although we need to let go a little, they will choose to continue to grow in their relationships with us. As I mentioned previously, as children grow and mature, they don't stop needing their parents, they just need them differently.
Now, more than ever, I drop to my knees and pray that God will guide them and that they will be patient enough to wait for His leading. After all, He will be the one leading them through the intersections of their lives.