I met a woman this week that lives just up the road from me. In the course of chitchat we came to realize that we have some things in common. We are both married, we live in the same area, and we chose the area for similar reasons. We both have 3 sons, and the ages and spacing of our children is nearly identical. However, her boys are 1, 4, and 6. She is still at the beginning her parenthood journey. She's writing the chapter on childhood. She had questions like "when will it get easier", "when will they get along better" and "when will I not be sooo tired all of the time?" I smiled. She didn't want to hear the truth, she wanted encouragement and support. Those pages in our book are already written. There was laughter and tears and not much sleep! There were family snow fights, cross country road trips, and various falls, cuts and visits to the ER. Bed time stories and night time prayers, dinners around the table, moves, new schools, new churches...just life. It was hard. It was fun. It was great.
This unique year at the Wilson house. It's a "season" that feels like it is full of "lasts." Next spring our oldest son will graduate from High School, and the Spring after that our middle son will do the same. In May our youngest son completed the 5th grade and moved into the middle school building, we have finished our time in the elementary school arena, and are now the proud parents of tweens and teens. In June our family took what may end up being our last big family trip. This fall we watched our oldest boys preform on the marching band field together for the last time. A few weeks ago we took what was probably our last trip to the mall for "family Christmas shopping." This might have been our last Christmas morning with all three of our wonderful sons.
It happened so fast. Matt and I have tried to enjoy every "season and stage" with our boys. We were never the people that said I can't wait until they are past the baby stage, or the toddler stage or in school. We looked on purpose for what was special at each moment, and did our best to enjoy it and ride the wave. Some days were better than others. Such is life. I am sure great things are still to come for our ever growing and ever changing family; yet today it still feels bittersweet. Our goal was to take the boys God gifted us with and help them grown into loving, functioning, productive, independent, dynamic Christian adult men. They know we love them, believe in them, support them - and we really want them to have lives that are bigger than our basement when they are 30!
"Give them roots and give the wings." That's gotta be one of the lamest sayings ever! But as we continue to take off the training wheels and encourage our young men to choose the path of adulthood, I can see that the lame saying has a seed of truth. I asked my Grandma Betty and Grandpa Dick once not to long ago when it got easier as a parent. They paused for a moment and then said this "It doesn't get easier, it's just a different kind of hard. Just keep trusting God."
That wisdom brought me back to this verse:
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you and watch over you" Psalms 32:8
God will continue to teach my sons, and so will I.
God will also be teaching me. Life as the parent of adult children, won't be the same as life with teens and tweens, but it will still be good, crazy, stressful, frustrating, funny, amazing and blessed. Very Blessed.