They come, and they go. Watching adult children leave (again) is much more difficult than when you first received them from the Lord so tiny and new. You were assaulted by love then, initiated into a passionate and protective love that you never even knew existed. That love gave you your first glimpse of the kind of love God the Father has for his children.
Smitten and afflicted with adoration, you cooed over their every whimper and sigh. You fell in love. You rocked. You went without sleep. You held them night and day. Man, oh man! was it difficult to adjust to a new baby…one, two, three, four, five, six times. But, it’s much more painful when your home is no longer theirs.
Every single time, it hurts to watch them leave. One just left, and my heart spills over with mother-love. They came. They saw. They conquered our hearts. We did the best we could. They grew up. They are gone. Only one remains, the college girl we hardly ever see. It literally happened that fast. Poof! They’re gone. When you’re in the middle of thirty-six years of parenting, those days when no one is civilized yet (neither you nor the children) are difficult and stretching and revelatory. You come face to face with your sinful selfishness and immaturity as you attempt to be the parent.
But all of a sudden, your sons tower over you, and your daughters are women. They’re cultured and savvy and better educated than you. You ask for their input, and they advise you. You’re in the front row at their wedding. They’re blasting off to the other side of the world. They are parents. They’re more courageous than you could ever dream of being. They’re out there saving the world, learning to fly airplanes, rescuing sex-trafficked orphans, working their way through college, planting churches, and getting graduate degrees.
Amazing! How did this happen so fast?
So, if you’re buried in parenting small children, if your days seem long and you think you’ll lose your mind if you have to wipe another bottom or clean up vomit one more time, look at this picture. You will be watching this sight before you know it.
There goes one. You’ll be a consultant, not the responsible party. You’ll watch them load up, fighting back the tears, heart in your throat. They’ll hug and wave and drive off to their rich, full, and challenging adult lives. You’ll feel so proud of them, so pleased at the men and women they have become.
Your heart will spill over. You’ll turn and walk slowly back into the house. And then you’ll cry. Cherish those children. They are a gift from God.