bittersweet

Nearly 18 years ago we brought our girl home from the hospital. She disrupted our comfortable life in every way possible. When she leaves for college next week, she'll do so again.

It's written all over her face: she's ready!
I have waxed poetic about how quickly the time has passed. It's true these are the days of bittersweet. Watching my girl chomping at the bit, so excited about what this next part of her life will hold is incredibly sweet. Understanding that this part of parenting is over and how far I missed the mark is bitter indeed.

Syler Thomas writes, Raising children must be more about growing them as disciples than about our experience as their parents. His words cause me to examine the past 18 years. I cannot keep count of the moments that raising my daughter was about me - my expectations, my plans, my image, my happiness. How often did I earnestly seek God's expectations, God's plans, God's image, God's happiness? I squandered many opportunities. Knowing that pierces my heart.

This is the sadness that tugs at me, more than the myriad of supplies and furnishings that have slowly overtaken the guest room. I read posts from mothers of college-bound children detailing their heartache, and I feel guilty. Our child-worshiping culture demands that we shed an ocean of tears to prove our loss, but as of yet I have been unable to comply. The blaze of anticipation in my girl's eyes dries almost every tear that threatens to spill forth from my own. I will miss her, it's true. Perhaps I haven't begun to fathom how much.

Yet I know that although this part of my parenting is done, I am still a mother. The ears that listened acutely for hunger cries in the middle of the night still listen. The eyes that carefully watched as she explored her surroundings still watch. The arms that snuggled her close stand ready to do the same. I find that I'm excited for this unknown future. I will have more opportunities to disciple my girl, albeit in a different way than before. It will be new and unfamiliar, and we will certainly wrestle through it. But we have made it through nights of colic, years of shift work, middle-school drama, and high school disappointments; we know how to survive.

After more than five years of marriage, my husband and I adjusted to having a third person in our home. Now, we will adjust to her absence. It may be more difficult, but God will give more grace.

Comments

  1. I so enjoy reading the words you write, Melissa. They are beautiful, as always. You are so right...the Lord's grace is there moment by moment...as it's needed. How precious it is to belong to Him! Much Love and Big Hugs! Camille XO P.S. ~ I am so glad you shared a photo of the three of you together...it's lovely to be able to see your sweet face. :)

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