Yesterday, our youngest daughter completed her last day of high school. She graduates next week, ushering our family into a brand new season. As I started counting up, I realized we have been in this season for 16 years. I still vividly remember the start of this wonderful season, dropping off our oldest for her first day of kindergarten, with a preschooler and a toddler in the minivan. It has been a wonderful season full of uniforms, field trips, parent conference, field days, progress reports, helping with homework, packing lunches, driving them everywhere, school volunteering, Regents testing, football games, field hockey & lacrosse, SATs and just watching them blossom!!
Would I want to go back? Sure, maybe for a day to soak in all in again, but I’m more excited for them, as they launch out into the world as a young adults.
I have heard it said, that perspective is the ability to stand between yesterday and tomorrow and understand how and where today fits in. I think that is so important in parenting. My husband and I have reminded ourselves continually of the goal parenting: to raise our children to follow God and release them into their destinies. Sometimes, what we are dealing with as parents can be so demanding that we can not see past tomorrow, but perspective has given us the ability to endure the drudgery and demands of parenting, knowing we are building toward that goal.
As we close this chapter, I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude for the privilege of being a mom. I can honestly say I have no regrets, just excitement to watch the next season of life unfold for our girls.
Things I’ve learned during the “school days” season:
- Parenting is truly a partnership. We partner with our Heavenly Father who entrusted them to our care to raise them with a heart to love and serve Him. We have asked for wisdom to guide our girls more times than I can remember. Living with the mindset that they are on loan to us, has helped us navigate well through the season.
- It’s a season to grow up. Nothing spurs us on toward being our best, than knowing we have little lives that are soaking up our every action and attitude. It’s been a “grow up” time for me as well as a time to deal with some of my “stuff”. Knowing that I was their example of being a disciple of Christ, a godly wife, loving mother and a good friend to others, always kept my heart open to God changing me & overcoming my selfishness.
- I can’t do it all but I can do what’s important. That goal isn’t to be Supermom, climbing atop the pedestal of perfection, but rather keeping the main thing the main thing. Committing to what is truly important and recognizing what is unimportant is a constant focus. Especially in the teen years, it’s so important that you aren’t so busy doing, that you miss being dialed into their lives and maintaining a good relationship with them.
- Being in control is a myth. I learned early on that trying to take charge of all events and issues in my girls’ lives only led to frustration and disappointment. My trust in God has grown as a Mom, living with the understanding that I can place situations into the loving hands of our Heavenly Father, who is sovereign and in control of all things. The white-knuckle grip on my girls wasn’t good for them or me.
- God meets us in the valley. Sure there are some difficult and trying times, but as I would lean into God, He gave me the grace & strength that is sufficient for every trial, hardship & challenge of raising my girls.
- God’s mercies are new every morning and mine need to be too. There were times when I needed to forgive our girls. Whether for pushing me to my limit, not being honest, disappointing me, or just not being loving. God calls me to forgive as He has forgiven me. Love is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, believes the best, endures all things … just to name of few (Check out 1 Corinthians 13). So, if I wake up with a chip on my shoulder and it is only 7:30am, then I need to spend time forgiving.
As the mother of a school age child put it:
“I love Autumn. It’s my favorite time of year, but I felt frustrated that it is such a brief season until I realized that its beauty is so poignant because summer and winter frame it. Each stage of life has its immense wonder, yet they all must move on. It is only in the moving on that we can fully appreciate what has passed.”
Let’s grow and enjoy whatever season we are in.