I'm thoroughy enjoying Elyse Fitzpatrick's book The Afternoon of Life. As I look ahead to September 2nd, when my youngest chick will fly the coop, it's providing encouragement and wisdom that is much needed, and which makes me look forward with joy, not sorrow.
Here are some comments she makes with regard to children leaving us:
From the moment our children are born, they're headed out the door. And just think of it, we encourage them along the way! How terrible would it be to try to keep them in diapers, to stop them from exploring, growing, changing. But every time we encourage that forward progress, we're hastening the day, and properly so, when we will have to divest ourselves, unclothe ourselves from our mom's uniform, and put on a different costume instead.
It is inherently arrogant for me to think that without me and my wisdom, my children will be deoomed to failure and grief.
Here's a reality we all need to face: Motherhood is inherently fleeting. It is planned obsolescence.
The only way we can confront such truths is with a full understanding of God's character. We know that our Heavenly Father released a child, and he did it for His glory. This is the attitude we must adopt. When my children were younger, I did not think of such things. Some days, it was a struggle to get through the afternoon with my sanity intact. I didn't look ahead or think I would be obsolete. But it comes, and preparing our hearts to do the right thing as our children leave home really does begin when they are young.
Yesterday, I had a mother speak to me about such an issue. Her firstborn, co-incidentally a friend of my son's, is going away to university. She's struggling. She asked me if after he's gone she could call me to talk. She knows this is not the first time I've gone through this. I said that of course she could, and I reminded her that it is in the design of creation that children grow and leave. It's hard, and we miss them, but they are not really ours.
I sound quite rational at the moment. Check back on September 2nd. I may be feeling a little lower, but I know that whatever God gives me is good, even if it is difficult.