Bob and Stephanie Liska are dear friends from a season past. They’ve poured into more highschool/ college students and young families’ lives than I bet they can even count! Lesley and I have been blessed by their relationship and watched from a distance each of their kids go off to college, they are a few seasons ahead of us – and I was blessed to be able post this to the blog as it is a great reminder for me to cherish the present season. I know someday I will walk this same road.
To the young parents out there who constantly hear “enjoy ‘it’ as this time goes so fast” it does; to the frustrated middle school parents whose pre-teen is constantly challenging them hang in there; to the high school parents who wonder if they can sit much longer on the bleachers or in the auditorium you can; and most importantly to the mom of the Senior who is the youngest the actual speed of family is realized the days after the youngest is taken to college.
This past Wednesday we pulled away at exactly 7:46 pm and I watched my son, my youngest, walk towards the dorm where he will sleep the next nine months. I watched my son grow up. I had done this twice before; his sisters are both college graduates and on their own. What I didn’t realize is that moment was nothing compared to what was going to greet us at home and what the next few days would have in store.
Tonight, I unpacked the dishwasher and realized I will be doing this from here forward… the past 19 years I’ve had help with this. (I don’t like unpacking—I prefer packing)
I’ve talked to the dogs more the last 48 hours than I’ve talked to them in the last 5 years combined.
Today— between my husband and I we bought 4 gallons of milk. Habit…
And it is quiet… a different kind of quiet in the house, a quiet you need to experience to understand. A mix of grief and contentment; excitement and peace for his future and ours. A quiet that finds you sitting in the middle of the house not sure what to do cry or dance…or in our case have a glass of milk. It is a quiet that makes you pause and reflect. Some of our reflections:
We are thankful we prayed! Prayed for forgiveness, guidance, to not be their friend but their parent, to be okay when they didn’t like me. We prayed for their choices, their friends and for their college roommate. We prayed for patience and to have an open mind, open heart that they will follow God’s plan and not ours.
We are thankful…
We are thankful we surrounded them with strong examples. They saw when we joined friends for supper how we all joined hands to pray, they experienced examples in our friendships of loyalty, support, celebration, fun and love. They saw the examples of Christian marriages and they knew they had someone besides mom and dad if they ever needed.
We are thankful we encouraged connections with the older generation. Our kids all learned from their grandparents and others within the community. They have formed life long bonds and respect for those with wisdom beyond ours.
We are thankful we encouraged, character, developed a work ethic, taught initiative and to look for the good in all people and circumstances. I’m thankful we expected the right choices and unconditional friendship as much as grades, sports and short-term accomplishments.
We are thankful all our children have their own relationship with Jesus, they know there is nothing more important than their faith. They also know there is a larger plan for them— and God will provide, but they must meet Him half way.
So, it is easy to reflect now… we are sitting in a quiet house drinking milk.
For the Sr. mom of that youngest child….
- Hold those hugs when you get them just a tad longer.
- Find enjoyment in every moment on the bleachers and auditorium.
- Just pick up the clothes off the floor and make their favorite foods.
- Wake them up… tuck them in… and when possible, let them sleep they probably need it.
- Tell ‘em they still have to wake you up and tell you they are home—let them talk and listen. (The first kid you wait up for… the last one you fall asleep).
- Pray…. keep praying… don’t stop. In some way they know you are praying for them and with that comes a sense of security, strength and confidence as they make decisions for their future.
So now what… my husband and I are working to figure that out. The speed of family is being re-defined for us and we can’t wait to see how fast this next chapter goes.