Was there enough time? Enough time of morning snuggles without the rush of all the things that come with school. Every day. Monday through Friday. Enough time of play-dates, visiting the zoo, meeting friends at the park, having a picnic lunch on a blanket spread on the grass in the backyard and all the other things that make up a day in the life of a mom with pre-schoolers. But that mom with the heavy heart who feels she is sending her baby out into a very scary world also has high hopes and a little thread of excitement as she anticipates all the things her child will learn in the coming months.
Then there's the mom who's been encouraging her young one starting middle school that it will be fun, not scary at all, as she thinks that this child is simply too young to be thrown into the same school as kids who are already teenagers. This mom knows the change from elementary school to middle school or junior high will hold many challenges, which include, but not limited to, peer pressure, bullies, mean girls and a curriculum with many different teachers and more responsibility. This mom knows that in the next year her child will probably begin puberty, with hormones raging. Girls who cry at the slightest thing, while her daddy is completely confused about what he said that caused this shrieking coming from his little girl who just yesterday went fishing with him. Boys who now need deodorant, and more showers. More than every couple of days they ask? And suddenly these cherished children are embarrassed to be seen with you. You are hurt and want your baby back.
Was there enough time? Time to be together and do all the things that kids do. Fishing with Dad, cooking with Mom. Time for instruction about growing up. Time to sit together for dinner, at least a couple of nights a week. Did you listen when they wanted to talk and ask questions, or were you too busy? As you sit in your car and watch your child walk into that middle school you suddenly want to cry out, come back, lets do this over! But you will adjust and so will they. They will blossom and you will be proud and your relationship will change. Another season of life has begun.
Then, suddenly High School! How in the world did this happen? One day at a time, Momma! All those moments add up to days and years and you suddenly begin to hear about drivers ed. and driving permits and you think to yourself, he can't see over the steering wheel. But, yes he can. How can a fifteen year old be six feet tall you wonder. But he is. During those four years of high school they become mobile, licensed drivers. All those fears from the early years seem so innocent and yes, easy. What were you thinking back then, you ask. You remember hearing that the older they get the harder it becomes, but you thought that can't be true. Can it? Now you begin to experience the independence phase, pushed into high gear, as those babies are growing into young adults...not yet, but that's where they are heading.
Was there enough time? Time to teach, or maybe preach, while you had them in the car with you and they had no where to escape.Time to talk about college, what they wanted to do in life, who they wanted to be and the important stuff. Family...the ones who would always be there for them, even though they think right now it's their friends. Did you remind them over and over to be sure and pray and seek God in every decision they make, who they are with and where they are going? The things that you suddenly have so little control over.
The news feed on facebook also blew up with photos of college kids. Parents loading up their son or daughter,with new bedding, new laptop, new clothes and everything they think they will need in the dorm room. For some parents it's new territory, their oldest, leaving home. For other parents it's the second or third time, but still difficult. For the younger siblings left at home alone, they too can be sad, or maybe not. Maybe they're like the young mom with the strong willed child gone to kindergarten,doing the happy dance.Some were going away, a long way, some only a couple of hours and some like my granddaughter, a few miles away, but still gone. I have two grandchildren already graduated from college, two still going, and now, another first year freshman and the first to live in the dorm.
Was there enough time? No, there is never enough time and we all know that. We always want to snuggle that newborn one more time, tuck that toddler in with stories and kisses one more time, and have another long conversation with that teenager who recently had his or her heart broken. But, we can make the most of the time we are given. So, if you are reading this and you have a newborn, hold that baby a little tighter tonight. If you have a toddler who is like a yo-yo and won't stay in bed, spend another fifteen minutes reading a book and getting hugs and kisses. And when that teenager asks a question you'd rather not answer, just remember if you won't talk to them they will find someone who will.
To my granddaughter, Bailey Owens and her best friend, Hannah Poe, your dorm room is adorable and so are both of you. Enjoy college, remember who you are and where you came from and that God has a calling on your lives. Be sure to check in with Him daily and be sure you are on course. And to two more sweet college girls, Erin Page and Katie Henkel, I hope that the coming days and weeks in your new adventure will be everything you've dreamed it would be.