Initiate Launch Sequence
The wind is warm and the windows are open and the crew has turned into some ground's crew because we just cannot stay off the grass.
It's Thursday and we cannot but help to help plants along and plow a bit for a new meadow coming Summer 2021.
I'm enjoying the leaf blower, the clinking of dishes being moved to the sink and the tinkling of the wind chimes my friend gave me at her last Ladies Meeting.
Today, the noise doesn't bother me.
Today I am glad to have all the kids here and there because it reminds me that they are home.
Motherhood is so funny.
It's a rushing to get them grown and a rushing to sit them down before they grow away.
No one tells you that in the rushing to get out of diapers you blink to find you have rushed them into driving to college.
Older wiser women have told me that the days are long and the years are short and no one ever believes them until you have become the older wiser woman telling some young mom the very same line.
When my first was born I was so newly a wife that motherhood looked daunting.
He was super long and sweet and always deliriously happy, always moving and always making some sort of noise.
I'm sure he cried, but for the life of me I cannot remember him doing so.
The first real strut on his own was at my oldest sister's wedding, and has loved music as soon as he could mouth, "Can I peas wis-a-patch-a-piewhat?"
His tonsils came out and his comedic style grew and he drove the absolute slowest I have ever seen a teenager drive.
He picked-up his Dad's trumpet and claimed it for his own and took on his Mom's view that most of an entire day is seriously laughable.
He kept his cough-laugh into adulthood and always wanted rough hands for some odd reason.
(Isaac, why on earth is that?)
He sat and held my hand through his high school graduation, the one his dad and I were the MC's of because sometimes Mom and Dad are Pastor and Pastor's Wife.
He was singing in the school play with his Dad and then we were broken down on the side of the road on our way to take him to college.
Just like that.
And I sat in bed last night and remembered that very last night in a little prophet's chamber house before things would forever change.
He kept coming in our bedroom, and seeing us asked his NIGHTLY question that I so grew to love, "So is this what it's like to be married?"
Depending on the day we would always give some, "You don't even know the half of it," answer and begin to smooch so as to make him run away, or joking tell him that being married means we can eat all the snacks after the kids go to bed.
That specific night I remember just having so much to laugh about for the excitement we all had mounting.
I remember just being so tickled with him.
So thankful for his heart to soak everything up, his bright eyes not wanting to miss one single thing coming around the corner for him, and his laugher, always his laughter.
Constant, contagious and sweet.
This was the night before our practiced launch sequence, and Houston, we had waterproof mascara, and we were ready.
It wasn't the leaving him at school that really got me.
It wasn't the phone calls, or him missing family memories, or even him making new ones without us.
It was him coming home.
I remember the exact spot where I stood trying my best to see him over every person descending the escalator at the airport.
Would he look older somehow? Would he be quiet and calm or still laugh at everything?
Then it was as if I could take a long deep breath again.
He was right there in my arms to squeeze.
It was a good break together.
But in the back of my mind I replayed what a sweet Preacher had shared with Joel and I at the parent's fellowship at his school,
"This is a changing moment in your family. It's okay to mourn the loss of what was, and now what will be different."
His words deeply resonated with me and I felt them in an unexplainable way.
We laughed and enjoyed every ounce of him home, but there was something "off."
I thought it might have just been me.
Then we prepared our daughter for her own launch and found those same lumps in our throats as we moved her tassel, moved her clothes into storage bins and sat around Chicago-style pizza just before meeting room mates.
I remember looking for a little storage thingy for her super late, the night we dropped her off because she lives in a sardine can of a room and literally had no dresser for her clothes.
I walked through Wal-Mart like a Mama bear and would've sold my shoes to find SOMETHING for the clothes.
We were Pro's by now knowing that the college "Parent's reception," does not mean food. If you take anything away from this post take this, the Parent reception only means chocolate covered peanuts and cheesecake bites. Get you a hamburger before you go so you won't be "hangry" ON TOP of feeling all the "leaving another kid at college and she needs a dresser" feels.
Seriously the dresser was a big deal.
Months after all the "firsts," the two of them now come home to fanfare, fresh sheets and too many stories to share between siblings.
And here at the close of the Second year for one and the First year for the other, I am well aware that life as we knew it is gone for good.
What no one tells you is that there isn't just one launch sequence for your young adulting kids.
Houston doesn't tell you that each huge test, each job search, each trial is you launching them into the Lord's care and remembering that they can find His will themselves.
It's a juxtaposition of, "they need me, " "they got this," "they need me," "they will figure it out- we all do."
Over rice and chicken and chopsticks I let a few tears fall telling this adorable young woman home for the shortest Spring Break in the history of breaks- that I was proud of every inch of her.
I told her that I was delighted to hear her heart and see how the Lord is providing for her in better and more wonderful ways than I ever dreamed.
But I then shared with her that she's not the only one with growing pains.
That I too have had to adjust to "new."
It felt so good to express my love of the old and my love of the new and my heart's earnest desire to balance them both well.
Two adults deciding their own paths and four at home still needing a proper send-off.
I told her that it IS a grieving of what we know and feel comfortable with.
It's a loss of comfort and stability that comes from having all our eggs in one super-safe nest.
I told her that God in his wisdom, gives such a richness in mentoring that counteracts the sting from young disciplining and THAT makes it all bearable.
Mothering is funny.
Sometimes the weight, the delight, the fear of it all just washes over you and you are glad to have chopsticks and rice to move around your plate as you digest what is happening all around you.
It's good, it's hard, it's fun, it's long, it's rewarding, it's fruitful, it's painful and it's even lovely- so lovely at times.
And sometimes it's all in a day's work.
We Moms really control nothing. Even our own spirit is kept in check by our dear Lord because we cannot be trusted with it's safe keeping.
And over rice and low lighting, it was good to relinquish the little I feel I can control to a good Father.
It was good to let the tears spill over and mix with all of the joy that comes from years of loving the best you know how.
These days I find myself snagging more treats for the lunch bag for that son who has his sights on the runway.
Another tassel to turn.
I find myself wiping all the tears because I now know in a deeper way how different this family unit will look in another year.
Don't get me wrong, COVID and distance learning has shown me that I do NOT want these young adults living in my basement for 20 years.
There's no way I want to grow old with more of, "Could you all please not breathe while I take a quiz downstairs?"
(Here's looking at you Isaac)
This change is so very needful and normal.
It's just different.
You can not be that "Helicopter Mom" and still desire to stall a flight or two, or twelve.
It's the savoring of the old and honoring the new to come.
It's the same push and pull of mothering in the young stages, the same, "grow up, learn this, and now slow down.."
And it's all covered with an amazing abundance of grace.
A grace that literally washes over you as you open your hands every break, every Summer and every decision once again.
And I put this out there for the one who didn't have someone to tell them that it's okay to mourn what was.
It's okay to feel sad about Summers split, dinners split and even heart's split wide-open for the missing.
It's okay to try to bridge the old and new and have no clue where the plans to build said bridge are.
Just keep one little palm open to the future, to the joy that seeps through the weary and know that the best is yet to come, is right now and was five years ago too.
It's all "The best."
They come home to learn to begin their own "home."
Until we all come home at last.