Change, it is a-happening around here. My oldest, my firstborn, my suddenly taller-than-me man-child who made me a mama is a Senior in high school.
He was on my hip with a blankie in hand just five minutes ago.
Add to that the preparations for the homeschool year of my younger four, (I also have a JUNIOR for crying out loud!) cutting several inches of curls off my middle’s long hair (resulting in her suddenly looking like a teenager…which she is…but still…) and finding armpit hairs on my eleven year old son and, well, I may or may not be on the verge of tears at the mere sound of a baby laughing or a toddler holding up it’s arms and saying, “Hold you!”
I could lament, or I could celebrate the season I am in. To be honest, I’m doing a little of both.
I have no one in elementary school any more. No one who fits into “kids-size” clothing. No one who has a bow in their hair or baby teeth. It’s weird. It’s wonderful. It’s hard. It’s freeing.
Independence is right at their ages, for the most part. They shouldn’t need me to butter their toast or heat up their leftovers. They can fold their own laundry and put away the dishes. (Now if only I could get them to clean their ROOMS!) They can read and ride their bikes and entertain themselves, allowing me the time to do things I enjoy such as writing.
I homeschool the youngest four, which means we are together much more than we are not. But, still, sometimes I miss them.
Oh, they are here. I love engaging in their conversations and receive plenty of smiles and hugs, but life has dramatically changed in the past few years. They don’t “need” me like they once did, which is both awful and beautiful at once.
I took the three youngest to the zoo today. At ages 13, 11 and 11 (yes, that is two elevens) I wasn’t sure if they would think they were too “old” for the zoo. I feared they might think it “lame.”
I was so gloriously wrong.
We explored and oohed and ahhed over animals we had not visited in a long time. The new Andean Bear exhibit was breathtaking, two big bears wrestling and rolling in the grass like siblings. My thirteen year old whispered, not knowing I could hear her, “This is awesome.”
And it was.
Memories of their childhood flooded my heart as I saw mamas with babies in carriers, strollers parked outside exhibit doors, and heard a little boy exclaim, “My pip-pops!” when his flip-flop fell off. We all relished the sweetness of the little ones surrounding us as much as we relished the beauty and diversity of God’s handiwork.
It was a good day. It was filled with smiles and sunshine and, for just a few hours, I felt like I was standing astraddle of the gap between life as it was and life as it is. I saw the wonder of a little child in the faces of my not-so-little kids and I am just so thankful for the respite of remembering before the busyness of our school year begins.
Times are changing, old seasons are gone, but if I take a moment and open my eyes to what is before me I can see the hope and future of these children in whom I have invested my life. Despite the hormones and, dare I say, attitude of the pre-teen and teen years, the remnants of the little ones who once placed their chubby hands in mine are still there.
Now the hands I hold are bigger, stronger, and maybe even calloused.
But they fit mine perfectly just like they always have.
6 thoughts on “Into a New Season”
Wow! I’m in the middle school trenches watching the kids change so fast it makes my head spin!
Yes, it is SO fast! Truly!
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What a beautiful way to embrace this season. May they always know the beauty and grace and love of your outstretched hand and the Father’s!
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Thank you, friend. 💖
Love this one!! The teen years have almost come and gone, as with the child-sized everything, here. With a college graduate heading to PA school in January, a returning college one (for his Junior year, finally able to claim ‘upperclassman’ again), and one to go to Basic training on Monday (for 14 weeks in GA with Army National Guard)…. I have prayed through the emotions that enter as I Nanny 3 very young children (4, 2, and 6 months). The love for my young adult children have developed layers through their years. I always have loved being around the new found abilities that come in the beginning of life (learning to laugh, turn over, crawl, eat 1st foods, learning colors, how to skip, hop on one foot, new but ‘old’ games like hopscotch and tic-tac-toe, climbing the fort on a swing set, learning to swim without aid, the ABCs and numbers, every truth through Bible stories and memorizing verses, 1st days of school, 1st time on a team, playing an instrument, …..) . Each of these I’ve been so grateful to have shared the a-ha moments of my own children and now my ‘nanny family’. While a do love these stages, God has provided me the Biblical reminder to REMEMBER. Thank the Lord for memory!!!!! (and some photos) Because now I can LIVE the current moments. Instead of my children having a lot more a-ha moments, it is I who do. I finally see their God given abilities being strengthened through CHOICES (sports, jobs, relationships, books). I realize Who they have chosen to believe in (when I hear their conversations, see their posts, making decisions with time, friendship choices). I understand they are not adults (filling out college applications, medical forms, W-2s, financial aid forms, employment applications, driving cars and large equipment vehicles, swearing in to the armed service, voting….) I thank the Lord for growth. I celebrate the fact that God is omnipresent, I do NOT have to be with them, see their every accomplishment as they go on (or their disappointments) ….because THEIR COMFORTER FATHER is with them wherever they go. HE will not leave them. Praise the Lord!!! I get that our own human emotions interject ‘what ifs’ and ‘whys’ combined with sentimentality and a twinge of wanting to freeze time. Under all that reality, I have to speak to how powerful it is to live in perfect peace (about ALL THINGS) when I rest in HOW REAL GOD IS IN THIS. He is able to bring my joy in the now. He is still at work with my children. He is not finished with me! He loves His own, and He is able to do far and above what I could ever hope or plan for on my own!!!!! Praise the Lord for other emotional Christian mothers, like you, who will speak about this transition, but will CLAIM the blessings in them!!!! May the Lord bless you, and your growing youth, during this year of change.
Oh Karen! Your words went straight to my heart! Such truth and wisdom! Thank you! It is mamas ahead of the game, like you, who keep me grounded. What a gift!