Source: Saturday Prayer: Still Waters
This came up on my facebook news feed.
Always is what you miss. Always knowing where they are. At school. At play practice. At a ballgame. At a friend’s. Always looking at the clock mid day and anticipating the door opening, the sigh, the smile, the laugh, the shrug.
I have been luckier than most. My children decided to live at home during college and grad school, are still living at home. In fact instead of less people in the house we have more. (That is a blessing and a curse because you live with how some other mother raised her child.)
Still, it is not the same. And you know it is only a matter of time. If not physically gone, the roles change and that is a loss not understood by men, not understood by the children who are no longer children and often not understood by other mothers until late in life. You know the ones…In homeschooling they are the ones counting down the years, months, days, minutes until they are “done!”. They are the ones who can not wait to use that child’s room for their own workshop-sewingroom-study-getaway-etc. These are the people who do not understand. The ones who whisper words behind your back. But I know, I have observed the ones left behind and no matter how busy you are or how often you see them in the end always is what you miss.
Here is the entire essay.
“It’s not a death. And it’s not a tragedy. But it’s not nothing, either…”💔 I feel like this little boy walked out the door today, not the fine young man we’ve raised. Today is hard. Very hard.
“I wasn’t wrong about their leaving. My husband kept telling me I was. That it wasn’t the end of the world when first one child, then another , and then the last packed their bags and left for college.
But it was the end of something. “Can you pick me up, Mom?” “What’s for dinner?” “What do you think?”
I was the sun and they were the planets. And there was life on those planets, whirling, non stop plans and parties and friends coming and going, and ideas and dreams and the phone ringing and doors slamming.
And I got to beam down on them. To watch. To glow.
And then they were gone, one after the other.
“They’ll be back,” my husband said. And he was right. They came back. But he was wrong, too, because they came back for intervals — not for always, not planets anymore, making their predictable orbits, but unpredictable, like shooting stars.
Always is what you miss. Always knowing where they are. At school. At play practice. At a ballgame. At a friend’s. Always looking at the clock mid day and anticipating the door opening, the sigh, the smile, the laugh, the shrug. “How was school?” answered for years in too much detail. “And then he said . . . and then I said to him. . . .” Then hardly answered at all.
Always, knowing his friends.
Her favorite show.
What he had for breakfast.
What she wore to school.
What he thinks.
How she feels.
My friend Beth’s twin girls left for Roger Williams yesterday. They are her fourth and fifth children. She’s been down this road three times before. You’d think it would get easier.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do without them,” she has said every day for months.
And I have said nothing, because, really, what is there to say?
A chapter ends. Another chapter begins. One door closes and another door opens. The best thing a parent can give their child is wings. I read all these things when my children left home and thought then what I think now: What do these words mean?
Eighteen years isn’t a chapter in anyone’s life. It’s a whole book, and that book is ending and what comes next is connected to, but different from, everything that has gone before.
Before was an infant, a toddler, a child, a teenager. Before was feeding and changing and teaching and comforting and guiding and disciplining, everything hands -on. Now?
Now the kids are young adults and on their own and the parents are on the periphery, and it’s not just a chapter change. It’s a sea change.
As for a door closing? Would that you could close a door and forget for even a minute your children and your love for them and your fear for them, too. And would that they occupied just a single room in your head. But they’re in every room in your head and in your heart.
As for the wings analogy? It’s sweet. But children are not birds. Parents don’t let them go and build another nest and have all new offspring next year.
Saying goodbye to your children and their childhood is much harder than all the pithy sayings make it seem. Because that’s what going to college is. It’s goodbye.
It’s not a death. And it’s not a tragedy.
But it’s not nothing, either.
To grow a child, a body changes. It needs more sleep. It rejects food it used to like. It expands and it adapts.
To let go of a child, a body changes, too. It sighs and it cries and it feels weightless and heavy at the same time.
The drive home alone without them is the worst. And the first few days. But then it gets better. The kids call, come home, bring their friends, fill the house with their energy again.
Life does go on.
“Can you give me a ride to the mall?” “Mom, make him stop!” I don’t miss this part of parenting, playing chauffeur and referee. But I miss them, still, all these years later, the children they were, at the dinner table, beside me on the couch, talking on the phone, sleeping in their rooms, safe, home, mine….”
– Beverly Beckham
Source: Who Do You Say That I Am?
An article I plan to share with my Session at our January planning meeting.
I am feeling blogged down by the amount of planning that I have to put in to have a planning retreat and the necessity of trying to cram it all into one day because of the busy lives of our Session members.
But now…back to Advent.
Here is the link http://lavenderyears.blogspot.com/
NaBloPoMo Day 6: When you were 8(ish), what did you want to be when you grew up?
My answer to the post was/is: A nun. The Sound of Music had just been released. Once my parents and Roman Catholic relatives explained that one to me. (It’s pretty hard to be a nun when you are a Presbyterian.) …that’s when I truly understood my obsession with musical theatre.
Here are my answers to the Friday Five Questions:
What is your “gotta go!” breakfast that you can grab and take with you in the morning when you’re in a rush?
Kind bars. Specifically cinnamon Barring that (see what I did there?) I would take a whole grain, gluten free cinnamon toaster waffle from the “good for you” foods we have delivered every week.
And COFFEE. ALWAYS COFFEE!
The Barrister doesn’t “do” breakfast except on special occasions. The darling daughters are grown ups at 25 and 18 and on their own.
When was the last time you had a fun evening out, and what did you do?
Hmmm. Well, I just got home from vacation, and we were out every day (almost) and we spent every night in and that was fun. The cottage we rented did not have any good family games so we went out and purchased one. We didn’t want to get something we already had at home so we ended up with a game called “Smart A**”. It is sort of a combination of Trivia Pursuit, Cards Against Humanity and Apples to Apples. We had to modify some of the rules to fit our own sense of fairness and to make it more interesting, but we played it several nights and really enjoyed it. Of course having adult darling daughters who can sip a bit of wine or enjoy a stein of brew along with the parentals made it even more fun. The Barrister had a good time too. Now that is an accomplishment!
Favorite poet or poem?
So We’ll Go No More A Roving by Lord ByronSo, we’ll go no more a rovingSo late into the night,Though the heart be still as loving,And the moon be still as bright.For the sword outwears its sheath,And the soul wears out the breast,And the heart must pause to breathe,And love itself have rest.Though the night was made for loving,And the day returns too soon,Yet we’ll go no more a rovingBy the light of the moon.Who makes you laugh?The Barrister in a good mood and the darling daughters almost always.Where do you like to go for some “time apart,” in the way that Jesus took time apart?This is a difficult question because I am more likely to “find myself alone” these days thanto actually plan for the time. Yet having alone spiritual time has never been a problem for me. I walk, or just shut a door and get sometime to myself. We have a lovely porch where I can go in the months before winter sets in and we have a library in the manse where I use to spend most mornings.Oh and here is yesterdays writing prompt….NaBloPoMo Day 5: I had a little furnace mishap at church on Sunday. What’s something you’ve done for your work that wasn’t exactly in the job description?I like to clean out and organize.I think it is left over from when I was a Church Educator.And I really love to see what people have stashed away in churches.But I also know it is a form of procrastination.My most recent project is cleaning out the choir music files (in search of more file space for other things).Our choir has not functioned in at least 2 years. We have 2 full to the brim file drawers of music and no one in charge of music at the Wee Kirk. So I cleaned out all the junk (1970s xerox copies on that paper that is shinny on one side and the ink comes off on your hands) and pieces of music in more than 4 parts. (When did Wee Kirk ever have a choir that could do 6and 8 part choral music???)I found a number of pieces that darling daughter could use with the youth choir – except the youth really don’t want to sing so we have to re-think that whole project.I found a number of pieces that darling daughter 1 and 2 could do as solos or as duets.All in all – a productive form of procrastination.Some time I need to write about all the gems I purchased from previous churches — furniture, dishes, tea sets, rugs, books, etc. doing church clean outs.
This is an experiment.
Perhaps a mistake.
I have had an on line journal for a long time, but to begin to put thoughts “out there” for public scrutiny is a completely different ball game. I haven’t even gotten the set up of this page the way I want it, but then again, I haven’t been able to arrangement life the way I want it either.
So commences the blog.
We’ll see how it goes.