His empty room.
The coffee cup he used just this morning.
Another random size 13 sock found at the back of the closet.
The Man-Cub is gone to become more “man” and less “cub” at college.
This Momma Bear is conflicted.
Your Baby Birds…
I’ve often said that my kids are my heart walking around outside of my body. Especially when they’re young, they seem so vulnerable it’s scary. Counting each breath they took as they slept or keeping charts of their bowel movements as babies, I later watched them with their playmates, correcting behavior and teaching good manners, like taking turns, sharing, and learning to be a good friend and classmate. There was playtime with Legos, puzzles, and make-believe.
Along the way, I taught both kids reading and writing and simple math. We coached their soccer teams and took them to music lessons. Birthday parties and celebrations are coupled with little heartaches and disappointments. The stakes were relatively low, but seemed big at times, didn’t they? I miss those precious carefree days.
Managing emotions (yours, theirs, and others) seemed like a 24/7 job. I was physically worn out waking for midnight feedings or chasing my toddlers or preschoolers. Once they got to school, I hoped to have time to “get it all done” but there’s never enough time because time unexpectedly increased in velocity. The clock sped up exponentially.
How is the clock going faster? When did hours and months become so short?
Those very long days of parenting a young child give way to a really short, fast, blur of years. A decade seemingly passed me in an instant.
Become Your Teens…
When I was parenting small children, I felt like knowing your kid and being their #1 resource and advocate was crucial. Gradually over the years, I learned to let go little by little. Sometimes I let go too much and sometimes not enough. This is the push-pull of parenting humans that are finding their own way in the world.
Anyone else feel me here?
The separation came for me markedly at that tween (10-12 year) age when both my kids become independent thinkers, challenging everything, wanting to know who they are, and where they fit in the world. Junior high is ruthless for any student and made worse with social media in this day and age, especially for girls, when everyone can see who got to go on the mom/daughter trip and who wasn’t invited. It’s pretty hard on parents, too. Right now with Blu, C-19 and all the new changes aren’t helping, either. I feel like I’m just holding on for the ride.
Finding their way in high school seems just as difficult. There’s girlfriend/boyfriend drama. Competition for spots to perform or play along with State championships. There are stars and supporters and cheering audience: those that play on the field or stage, those that support them, or the others cheer from the sidelines or seats. No matter where your child was in the mix, you’re supporting them.
Feeling the weight of their own consequences and work, any “wins” are now theirs. So are their losses. The responsibility shifts from your shoulders to theirs. It has to. These struggles are what make them strong enough to fly free out of the nest. Otherwise, they won’t grow up and become who God created them to be.
And Then Move Beyond The Nest To Fly.
Friends told me the day my son entered high school it’s just a blink until they’re gone to college. They were right.
We have moved from parenting into the coaching realm. There are no more mandates from the top, only suggestions from the side, and only when my college student asks. It’s such a weird shift.
This morning, Man-Cub turned off his profile on Life360 (an app that shows where your children are on a map). He is cutting childhood strings, his virtual umbilical cord, to become independent.
As I watch him ambling toward his dorm building carrying the last of what he’s bringing for his freshman year, he turns and waves one last time. I can tell he’s tearful but excited to get going. (Cue Momma Bear tears and some serious sniffling under my mandatory on-campus mask. You CAN’T make a scene… get moving!)
Wiping my eyes, I realize he now only has to offer what he wants to tell us and is going to have to figure things out by himself. I think I’m okay with that. When he needs help, he’ll call.
I just got a text. “I love you, Momma.” Now I’m bawling. My firstborn is gone.
Okay, I’m back. 🙂 After tearfully walking through the house, I just spotted the crumbs from the CheezIts all over the couch, the half-eaten sleeve of Keebler’s chocolate graham crackers on top of the fridge, the water spots on the shower glass where he missed with the squeegee, and I laughed. It’s gonna be alright. I just got another text he’s set up his room, hung his clothes, and has his life all figured out. He just needs to get dinner.
I have every confidence Man-Cub and his classmates will go and change the world for the better. Even if they’re a little messy at times, my prayer is that they’ll get it right in their life, they’ll do better than our generation has done. For the glory of God…
Here’s to the Class of 2024. Be strong and courageous. Don’t be terrified and don’t be discouraged. The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1: 9)