I feel like we just recently started sleeping through the night although it has been going on for quite a while now. In my mind, I’m still a newly married 25-year-old, fresh out of college, ready to change the world. However, my clothes remind me that I am a mom of two, that rarely has time to get to the gym these days. My joints kind of hurt and I’m called ma’am by the grocery store bagger – both which remind me that time is moving quickly and while my kids are getting old, so am I.
My oldest is 9. He is precious and wonderful. He is also so very moody. Like, overnight, super moody. And, at times, drives me crazy. Recently, I unloaded to my mom all of my motherly woes. She was kind and gracious. Then, she sent the most gracious piece of mail with a blog article from desiringGod called, The Hardest Part of Mothering. It was about dealing with the realness of raising our kids well knowing that we are raising them to be independent adults.
The paragraph, “Hang on to Him, not them”, brought me to my knees. Lately, I feel like I am back to the season of parenting that is so similar to that of a newborn. I find myself feeling so ill equipped. Often I find myself thinking, I need to phone a friend because I don’t know how to deal with that. Then, I remember that God has given me the exact children he planned for me. I am enough. I know what they need…and don’t need. And, in these moments of 9-year-old-hormones (is that a thing-it has to be?!!) I can stand firm in I’m not ruining you with my “NO” and, my “Go to your room, right now.” Because, I feel like I am. And, his moods and social sea is becoming increasingly more difficult to navigate. While my oldest is extremely smart, I have to remember that I cannot reason with him like he is an adult. At the same time, grace crashes over me and reminds me to be graceful with him and myself. When I remember these things, it is about the same time I go to my room and start begging God to help me with new territory and difficult parenting.
It’s not my job to “Hang onto them”, God’s got them. My job is to raise my children to know and love their creator. My job to try to be a good reflection of who Christ is in me despite my sinful flaws. My job is to give them wings to fly and pray when it hurts to watch them soar far from the nest I’ve made for them.
At nine, my oldest is half way to college. At this point in the Summer I might jokingly say, “Shall we start packing now?” But the truth is, in these long days, I’m remembering that this time is flying by. I cling to HIM instead of them when I don’t know how to proceed, how to parent the season and what to do next. Because, God has given me these children, the blessing and the many quirks, because he saw me fit.
My youngest is 6 and has graduated Kindergarten this past Spring. He is transitioning from the safe, small bubble of a private Christian preschool (where I taught and was with him every day) to a large public school where I won’t be. I finally understand Peter Pan. I actually get the Lost Boys. I want to hold his baby face and his innocent, sweet, “wittle” voice as long as I can. I don’t want him to grow up. I want him to love me as much as he does now. Because, I see what is coming!
While my oldest adores his family, it’s hidden under some layers of adolescence. I know that much of the adorable “baby”, the tiny amount that is left, will fade throughout first grade. While I navigate the newly acquired attitude with the fourth grader, I mourn the loss of the baby in my first grader . And, onward we charge. To a new season. To a new style of parenting. To celebrating the wins, looking forward to all that is to come because in the end, these aren’t my children. While I birthed them, they only came to be through me, ultimately they are from God. I have to remind myself that He is good. He is in charge. And, he has given me these small human beings because he thought I could handle them. Pray for me, will you?!