Children grow up and take flight into their own lives. And although that’s how it should be…
Seasons come and go on this earth, and in our lives as well, but even though this time of letting go has been creeping closer, I’m struggling to accept that it’s actually here. Kind of like knowing that summer is coming to an end — those carefree days filled with barbecues, watermelon juice-stained faces, and running barefoot late into the evening. I don’t know if we’re ever ready for it to end and a new season to begin.
From my kitchen window I watch as the trees drop their fiery-colored leaves across the yard signaling the transition from one season to another. And that’s how it feels in my life lately. My identity as a mother suddenly feels like it’s been shelved even if that isn’t the case. Those moments which brilliantly colored my life for so many years have dropped away just as the leaves on the trees, and now suddenly my life feels bare.
There’s this inner struggle deep within myself, as if the longing for days past are trying to catch up to the reality that those days are over. My heart aches while also bursting with pride as I watch my boys move into their own lives. The two conflicting feelings struggle to intermingle with the other and it’s that forging of the two which causes a dull ache in my heart.
While I’ve watched those little boys of yesteryear suddenly morph into young men, my heart still holds onto the feeling of their little hands in mine.
Yet it’s no longer for me to kiss away the boo-boos or wrap them in my arms comforting them through the trials of this life or give them gentle direction on making tough decisions. It is now for me to give love and encouragement from afar while teeter tottering on the line of letting go and yet still being there.
There is this gentle shifting in my life as the old merges into the new. Floods of smile-inducing memories occur one moment then a deluge of regrets the next causing tears to intermix with the happy thoughts. And some days are overshadowed with the realization that your only regrets in this life are of those moments never taken and now lost to time never to be recaptured for a do-over.
I’m feeling a little lost these days as I try to settle into this new season of my life.
And while wrestling with those feelings one day, my husband spoke these simple words as he wiped away the tears on my cheeks, “You’ll find your way. It may take some time to figure it out but you always do.”
And I know he’s right. I’ve always found my way and I will through this season as well.
“…when my identity is tied to circumstances I become extremely insecure because circumstances are unpredictable and ever-changing…I’m desperate to keep a relationship that makes me feel valuable. Then I’m constantly terrified of that person slipping away. Because I don’t just feel like I’m losing them…I feel like I’m losing a big part of myself as well.” -excerpt from the book Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst
These words describe this feeling deep inside my soul. Like I’ve lost a part of myself as the relationships with my sons shift and change — like I’m no longer valuable or needed even if that is not true. I feel as if I’m searching for something, perhaps trying to find another part of myself to replace what I’ve always known my identity to be. While talking about life with my youngest son one day and trying to put into words how I’m searching for something to do in this new season, he matter-of-factly asked, “What is it you want to do?” Good question. And one I ponder often these days.
What is it I want to do?
I think all of our life experiences bring us to a place of finding ourselves and what it is we were put here to do. Maybe though it’s not so much about finding ourselves and figuring out what it is we want to do or are meant to do, but it’s more about growing through each season and finally emerging into the person we truly are. I’m beginning to realize that sometimes we find ourselves shifting direction with the changing of the seasons in our lives. What we did at one time was meant for that moment, but then time moves on, some things wither away preparing for new growth, and we emerge one day a new person into a time just for that purpose.
Letting go can be so difficult and it’s in that place where we meet those hard feelings face-to-face. Where regrets creep up causing us to weep over the things we never did. It’s often said that regrets in this life are more about those things we didn’t do rather than the things we did. And I’ve come to see how very true that is. I often say these days how I would give anything for just one more day to spend with my boys when they were little. If only for one more day to turn back the clock and go back in time for a do-over. A chance to do those things I never did; to take a risk I was too scared to take; to live out a dream that only stayed in my heart; to sit on the floor with my little tow-headed boys savoring every single minute.
But in this life there are no do-overs, there are only do-right-now’s. And all those things we never did or may never do will still continue to lead us right to this very moment in time. Life will march on. The sun will rise again tomorrow. We will find our way and yes, we will have to let go along this journey.
How I wish for just one more moment to hold those tow-headed boys on my lap snuggled up tight reading the same book again for the umpteen time and hearing “Good-night Mom, I love you Mom”.
I am finding my way and learning how to gently transition into a new season of my life.
My house is quiet these days though, too quiet. I find myself still straining to hear the once familiar sounds like that of my son’s car pulling up out front, early morning noises of him getting ready for work, a guitar being played behind a closed bedroom door — and just the everyday knowing that they will come walking through that front door. Yet, while my house is quiet and my heart aches a little, I know I will find my way into a new season. For every storm comes to pass (Acts 27:44b) and no season lasts forever.
Eventually new leaves will begin to grow in the place of the old and the bareness will once again be covered in brilliant colors ushering in a whole new season of life. Just like God’s Grace in our lives.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” ~Hebrews 4:16
His Grace covers us with mercy and showers us with favor. His Grace covers our lives with brilliant colors turning the old into something new.
I am slowly finding my way as I move into a new season of grace bringing color to my life once more.
Updated April 13, 2018:
Today my oldest son is home for a visit and my youngest son has since moved back home bringing even more laughter and love into my home. And while this mama’s heart still bears scars from regrets of days gone by, I am finding my way. The sun has indeed risen yet again and through God’s Grace my life is being restored in ways I could never have imagined all those years ago.