I can vividly remember words spoken to me at church a long time ago by a sweet, older woman. My husband and I had just entered the foyer with our 2-year old son and 5 -year old daughter. I'm sure we had that "good-grief-can't-believe-we-
actually-made-it-here" exhausted look on our faces. This gal stops me, places her wrinkled, sun-spotted hand on mine and says "The days are long, but the years go by so fast." I smiled, told her thank you, and then in my young-mom mind thought, "Well, maybe YOUR years, but mine will be morphing into CENTURIES."
Funny. She was right. Those years flew right by...can't say I wasn't warned. That 2-year old son is now 17 and a senior in high school. The 5-year old daughter is now 20 and a junior in college. My husband and I have found ourselves discussing things such as downsizing our home, retirement...albeit, it will be a few more years for this. Maybe picking up a hobby we can both do together. Golf, perhaps? Tennis? We've even joked we're going to get an RV, travel the states with our dog, and be THAT couple you get stuck behind going 10 miles an hour.
We joke about these events to come, but they are right around the corner. We are almost empty-nest-ers. True, our kids will come back sometimes on weekends for various things (my son for laundry, I'm 100% sure), but the frequency with which we see them will lessen. I've semi-adapted to this with my daughter. SEMI. But now my son, too? Can I handle this? I won't sugarcoat it...it hurts. You will cry...a lot...at random times. Are they ok? Are they adapting? Are they eating? Did they get out of bed? Daughter, probably...son, the jury's still out. They better have gone to class...this college stuff is NOT CHEAP.
Everyone's scenario will be different, but I do feel the "hurt/sadness factor" will be a common denominator. What has helped me manage this ache are words wisely given to me by a dear friend and neighbor whose children are grown with families of their own. She said "Tammy, think about how much you love your kids." (I did this and my heart almost exploded right then and there). "Well, now, think of God. He loves them even more." WOW. So simple. So true. I love my kids A LOT. He loves them even more! Let me tell ya', that is a WHOLE LOTTA LOVE.
I can't be there 24/7...but God can. I can't protect them 24/7...but God can. I do not know if they are hurting...but God does. This was such a relief to me. These beautiful children of mine are not really mine...they are his and always have been. Why then should I worry?
Psalm 139:7-10 reassures me with this promise..."Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on wings of dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast."
That lady in the church foyer years ago was right. The days ARE long and the years DO go by quickly. But let me just add...
God's got them. He always has.
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