Someone needs to write a parenting book that prepares you for the adjustment process you go though when your child becomes an adult on their own, and in my case, is now going to be married in less than two months! Parenting books cover what to expect with teething, potty training, feeding, and development, but not when your child transitions to an adult.
This morning, I opened my hope chest to pull out some things for our daughter’s bridal shower, not expecting the next chain of events. A burgundy baby dress with lace trim, a beloved baby blanket, the treasured stuffed kitty worn to a frazzle, and very first t-shirt with the hospital’s name imprinted on it from which our daughter was born all popped up at me. Sneak attack! Not fair. The tears flow out of nowhere. Happy ones full of sweet memories flooding my mind. Grateful ones to have been entrusted to love and care for this precious one. Imperfect, fallible me! Mournful tears, of how quickly the years have gone and the moments that were lost. (The fact I had been awake since 3:30AM probably didn’t help.) I thought I was finally through the worst part of this! I was actually learning the joy that comes from the less responsibility.
My in-laws had cared for our four-year-old, Sheppard, during a major Passion play that my husband and I are involved in. One night upon coming home, my mother-in-law shared how all that day Grandpa was the one that Sheppard wanted his day to revolve around. By evening, Grandma had given Sheppard his bath and coaxed Sheppard in letting her read him his bedtime story instead of Grandpa. “You know what book he brought me to read?”… “My Grandpa Is the Best!” Oh my! I must admit it was hard to stifle my giggles.
It was a reminder to me, though. We really do have little control over our children’s choices. We work hard to teach them God’s love and the importance of their relationship with Him, having good manners and respect for others, cleaning up after themselves, and having good hygiene. We pray mightily over them and think we are releasing them to God. However, the rubber truly hits the road when they become their own person and an adult. This is where our true releasing them to God hits the hardest.
A good parent will work themselves out of a job. Not the relationship, mind you, just the job. I have had to ask myself multiple times, “Ok, Lord. Do I trust you even more-so now to protect her, guide her, pull out of her all they has been instilled in her? I know less of what her day involves. I have to believe that you are her full Caretaker now and trust. Less input from me, unless it is invited by her, and more prayer that You Lord will orchestrate the circumstances of her life as you see fit?”
During this season I have sought the wisdom and experience of seasoned moms. It has been very helpful. A dear friend told me, “Don’t place expectations on them and they come around more. Then it is a most pleasant surprise and takes the stress and strain off of you always wondering when they’ll come see you”. Another dear friend, who has been through this process at least three times shared how much your family dynamics change each time a child leaves the nest. It is so true! I just never pinpointed that as part of it. Many others have shared how they just found themselves crying at random times, sometimes for no reason at all or when a random memories surfaces. Yay! I wasn’t losing my mind after all! I was having that happen too! Why don’t Parenting Books warn us of this mourning process?
I woke up at 4AM one morning with the strangest thought.
“Naw, couldn’t be!” “Lord, is that you?”
“I’m going to look up the definition.”
Sure enough, line-by line, it fit perfectly.
“Mark. Mark! Wake up!”
“Huh? What Honey?”
“Look at this!”
“I’m going through mid-life crisis!!!“
“Our parents go through this, not us!”
“Yes, dear… That happens.”
“It says that a child leaving home or getting married can trigger it. I’ve been double-whammied!”
“It’s going to be alright dear. It’s a part of life.”
One evening, after going with my daughter for a fitting for her wedding dress, she requested to stop somewhere for dinner since she had come straight from work. “Mom, can I do an IOU? I’m kind of broke right now.”
“Sweetie, I planned to buy you dinner anyway.”
Her face looked pale and tired from all the hours of overtime that her position demands and I knew she hadn’t been eating very healthy. My mama’s heart ached. She talked and talked and talked. All about her work, her friends, the various happenings of her life. I just soaked it in. If the only thing I accomplish in life is a close relationship with my kids and husband and in bringing them close to God, then I will have lived.
As she drove off in her car I felt the lump begin to swell in my throat and the tears stream down. I wanted to take care of all the concerns of her heart and advise her on all the things she should and shouldn’t do. But, that is no longer my place, unless she invites me to do so. She is her own person now and is needing to carve out her own life
“Lord, I love her so much! I just want to fix everything for her. How do you do it God? Millions of times each day you watch over all of humanity, your kids, and see their aches and pains. You watch them make their choices. Some bring you joy and some break your heart again and again. We have all broken your heart at times. How does your heart bear it all? Yet, you still give us the freedom to choose how we live our lives. It never occurred to me how hard that must be, until this season of my life. I love you, Lord. Thank you for taking care of my baby girl!”
The words to this song constantly parade through and soothe my mind lately. I leave these words with you, the reader: “You’re a good, good Father. It’s who You are. It’s who You are. And I’m loved by You, It’s who I am. It’s who am…”
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
Sign up to receive Mindy's Quirk-E-Mails