Here's a post from the archives of my personal blog. I published it three years ago and I revisit it now with some degree of nostalgia as well as a renewed sense of my need of much grace. My oldest has completed that first year of college and now my second son is beginning the process of making a decision about his college plans and I am yet again caught in the bitterweet swirl of emotion, regret, sadness, and joy. Joy most of all. Grace. Grace. It's all grace.
This summer marked a first for us: we visited a college campus as parents of a prospective college student. During the informational session, I texted my husband (who was sitting four children apart from me): "I look younger than the rest of these moms right?" He asserted via a return text that I did though privately I have my doubts. Parents of prospective college students have to be old(er) arithmetically speaking. The math doesn't lie.
We joked that by the time our number four son is ready to investigate his collegiate options he can take his own self on a tour, he will have seen so many by then. Not to mention the fact that his parents will certainly be tired and worn out (and old) by then.
How did we get here? Wasn't it only yesterday that I was sending my oldest off to kindergarten, he and I both stoic, his younger brother the one in tears? I mean, I know that time flies and all that but who could know it flies so fast and so furiously? I am not exaggerating when I tell you that sometimes I wish so badly for my kids to be small again that it is nearly a physical ache. I miss their littleness. Yes, it was hard. Yes, there were days I thought I would lose my mind. Yes, I couldn't wait for them to dress themselves, feed themselves, bathe themselves--and now he can even drive himself (yes and amen) and now there are days I wish it all back again.
I didn't know how fast that stage of my life would pass. If truth be told, I was scared it would last forever.
I am so proud of my son. True, we have our share of heated exchanges and sometimes I worry myself silly--and for good reason--but when I hear him introduce himself to a group of other prospective students with an air of maturity and self possession that I forget he has, well, I am so proud and I am so humbled to be granted the privilege to navigate the unchartered territory of parenthood with such a great kid who loves the Lord Jesus with such determination. His dad and I are blessed. Confused, at times irritated and frustrated, overwhelmed, unsure, and desperately needing wisdom, but blessed.
Grace. It's all grace. From beginning to end.
I know that I don't really wish him nor his brothers little again, not when I think rationally instead of emotionally. I've told you before of my friend's words of wisdom that remind me "we raise 'em to let 'em go." And so we do. And so I do. It's not any easier, parenting teenagers and prospective college students. In fact, it's as horrible as you've been told. Navigating these unchartered waters, seeing the days fly by in quick succession, knowing my time is short, and understanding better than ever my failures and regrets--all show me my desperate need for a Savior. I haven't been enough. I'm not enough. I wasn't enough then when I wished my kids' babyhood away; I'm not enough now when I struggle to relinquish control and trust my son (and the Holy Spirit to do His good work of conviction).
"I can't do this," I thought then.
"I can't do this," I know now.
I need grace. Not just in my mothering but in all things. I need the assurance that accompanies trust in a God who knows all things, sees all things, and works all things according to the counsel of His will. I need wisdom to teach and peace to let go. I need forgiveness. I need mercy. I need faith. I do believe; overcome my unbelief!
It was more than strange to walk a college campus and realize anew that one day soon and very soon (two years is soon!) my son will leave home. It's strange. It's surreal. I will still wish for him to be little again but I pray I will also be confident that the Lord who began the good work--in parents and son both--will indeed bring it to completion.
Grace. It's all grace. From beginning to end. Yes and amen.
To God be the glory.