This year has been one of my hardest, emotionally. Both of my girls have huge milestones this year. My oldest graduates college in December. I know that with her well-earned degree in zoology, she won’t stay too close to home. And my youngest graduated high school this Spring and moves out in a few short days.
I know I am not the first mom to have to learn to let go, but it feels like it. There have been moments I have been paralyzed by grief. And it’s so confusing because my children are doing what I raised them to do. I raised them to think for themselves and follow their calling no matter where it leads. I never want to hold my children back. I just want to hold them close.
Working through all the emotions feels like being caught in a swarm of bees. I keep swatting them back, praying not to get stung. I don’t like facing things I know won’t feel good. I try to work through it all with a good therapist, prayer and picking up some new hobbies. Writing has been very difficult because I can’t seem to make sense of my thoughts enough to write more than one sentence at a time. Writing has always been easy for me and my favorite way to cope with anything complicated, so to barely be able to form coherent sentences has been confusing and makes me feel stuck in my sadness.
I’ve argued with God that I don’t need to write anymore. I have nothing more to say. Life, as I have known it for 21 years, is over. My assignment is complete. I’ll just go through the motions for the rest of my life. All I ever wanted was to be a mom, what more could God have for me? I’ll be honest and say that many days it’s even been a struggle just to get out of bed.
I wish you could just tell me I am being too dramatic. Then I could feel ridiculous, shake it off and move on. But it’s very, very real. I never saw it coming. But it feels as heavy to me as these humid Southern nights and just as dark. What’s my purpose if not to nurture, love and guide my children?
I’ll tell you what it is. And it has absolutely nothing to do with my children.
My purpose is to serve and love Jesus and let Him love me back. I realized that my greatest assignment so far has been to raise my children to understand that reality for themselves. Now that they do, I get a new assignment. As long as I’m breathing, I’ve got more to do. God’s not finished, so I can’t be either.
There’s so much beauty in that. It helps me move forward through what has seemed like a dark cave. I can finally see the light.
I am not looking forward to leaving my youngest child on that college campus. It hurts a lot just to think about it. But, she’s ready and she’s able. And, fortunately, I know many of my new assignments once her boxes are unpacked (More on that later). My life won’t look like PTA meetings, chauffeuring kids to dance or art class, volunteering for the school musical or spending my weekends selling Girl Scout cookies. It will look very different and instead of thinking of it as letting go of something old, I will focus on being glad that God is in the business of making all things new.
In the meantime pass the tissues and allow me to grieve this loss, rejoice in a job well done and give thanks that Jesus never lets go of me.