So last week, I said, “goodbye” to our oldest daughter again.
It’s that time of year, when we send our kids off to college and wonder again, “How did this go so fast?”
Her flight wasn’t leaving until 5 in the evening so my whole day was just one long goodbye feeling. I knew it was my last day for a while so emotions were near the surface and I may have cried big drops right into my morning coffee because this growing up and leaving home stuff is hard on this mama.
I’m not a big supporter of mixing it up and adding crazy to my calm. I like stability in my world. I like those I love to stay near. I like my people around me and them being a part of my life here and now.
Yet I also want what God wants for them and sometimes those places are not the same place.
I was one of those kids that left home for the big city. I was itching to get out and couldn’t wait to be on my own. College couldn’t come fast enough.
It was the best thing for me and I’d make that same choice all over again. I learned big lessons and grew into responsibility in a new way. I made lifetime friends and began discovering who I was and what I wanted to do with my life.
And maybe as parents that’s why it’s an odd mixed-up bag of emotions. We’re proud of who they are becoming yet sad that we are setting one less place at the table.
Distance changes things. Whether they’re across the country or across town.
We’re letting go of what’s familiar and our routine of having them in our everyday lives. That routine is what we know and we’re forced to let go and grasp again the truth that God’s got them.
We trust Him with their lives. And that’s the best we can do.
As I stood at the airport watching her walk through security check points, my thoughts whispered, “She handles this like a pro…. better than her blubbering mother on this side of the glass.”
This last spring, our son graduated high school as well. He’s not boarding a plane for a distant city but he’s on the tarmac of life’s adventure.
I think back to their awkward teen years when Dave and I had conversations about our children and their plans. We’d wonder, “What the heck are they thinking?” and Dave, my ever-optimistic hubby, would assure me with, “Just wait… they’ll land well, honey… They’ll land well.”
They haven’t landed yet. In fact, they have miles to go on this flight. They’ll face head winds and fly through clouds where they can’t see their way ahead.
In the beginning as parents, we fly their planes. We’re the pilots on board. We make the major decisions of bedtime and wake-up time. We make them eat and we monitor screen time, friends and activity involvement. We give instruction and point out inflight information.
They age and step into the co-pilot seat. We hand them the controls for seasons and moments but we still fly the plane because we’re parents, they’re children and good training calls for that.
Now their adults and we watch them board their own planes. They go through the check points and we stay on the ground.
It’s their turn to fly, make their own flight corrections, and take in the adventure of the horizon ahead.
It doesn’t really matter how many times they take-off, these mama eyes will fill with tears. Their time of departure is here. It’s their time to board.
For all of you saying goodbye this week, my heart is with you as we adjust to new normals.
There are empty places at our tables and less laundry in our piles. Our kids are growing up and it’s all happened faster than we planned.
But can I remind you, it’s good. It’s tough, difficult and not fun at all but it’s good.
We, at one time, boarded our own flight of adventure. We took off with great excitement, wonder, trepidation and fear all packed in our bags. We flew our first solo flight and caused panic for our parents on the ground below.
But we landed.
And our kids will land well, too.
We trust them to God. He’s got a big sky.
We’ve given instruction, trained them well and now they fly and we watch them soar.