One month from today we will watch our youngest child walk across the stage to receive his high school diploma. Then 41 days later we will wave goodbye to him as he heads off to California for US Marines basic training.
This is not the way I thought I would find myself in the empty nest. I thought he would go to the local community college for a couple of years (living at home, of course) and then go away to university with holidays and maybe summers at home.
In other words, I thought I had at least another two years of my boy at home.
Mixed feelings? Absolutely!
I went into motherhood terribly aware of the great responsibility but also anticipating the great adventure of raising children to the glory of God. It’s been wonderful and awful, satisfying and frustrating, exciting and depressing, and frightening in so many ways.
Now I look at the young man who used to be a tow-headed, adorable little toddler such a short time ago and I imagine him as a soldier – a Marine, no less.
Yes, I have mixed feelings about this empty nest thing.
- No worries about report cards or curfews vs. worries about the whole military thing.
- More freedom vs. what do you do with the freedom?
- More room in the house vs. emptiness in the house.
- More time vs. limited time with him.
- No need to pay for college vs. not being needed to provide for college.
- No hugs, no fist bumps…
I better stop making the list right now! The Marines have told us not to cry until our recruit is on the bus and out of sight. But I think you get the picture.
On the other hand…
Lately a different picture of the empty nest has been occurring to me. When Jim and I decided to marry, a new chapter in our story began. When we brought our sweet baby girl, Rachael, home, another new chapter began. Surely this is just another chapter in the same story.
These things won’t change:
- still Jim’s wife
- still mom to Rachael, Caleb, Melody, and Evan
- still a daughter of the King
And I don’t really know what twists the new chapter will bring to the plot of the story – more grandbabies? more in-laws? challenges – both good and seemingly bad? changes I could never predict?
One thing I have become convinced of is that one of my roles in this stage of life is to pray and pray and pray some more. Pray for my husband and children and children-in-love and grandchildren. And just keep praying and being available. Why am I so convinced of this?
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
No matter where my children are – across town, across the country, or stationed out of the country – I can pray for them. And I can be assured that harvest time will come – that the Master Gardener will let me see the fruit of my labor.
And while I am waiting for the harvest, I know that the God who set me apart before I was born and who called me by His grace will be writing that next chapter of the story and that it will be perfectly and beautifully written.
And I think I can even keep it together until that bus takes my baby away to make him into a Marine!
Today’s post is written by Barbara Deatherage. Barbara regularly shares on her personal blog, Worth Doing Poorly and is actively involved in ministry at Stonebriar Community Church. We invite you to visit often as Barbara and others share their parenting wisdom.