Ah, finally, a moment to write what I’m living right now —
We’ve talked about the feeling of disorientation and ambivalence that strikes hard and fast, sometimes so dizzying we don’t even know what hit us!
Today — five thoughts on living in God’s story of grace through these seasons:
- Grieve the loss.
Yes, it is a loss. With two “children” getting married this summer, the most common response I hear is, “Wow! Two in one summer! That’s —.” The second is, “Wow, how exciting!” So far, no one has said to me, “Oh, I’m sorry for your loss.” Yes, that would be weird.
But…it is a time to name that it’s a loss of a way of life and a leaving their first loyalty to you.
- Remember that leaving is exactly what you wanted them to do. It is part of the greater process of them learning to depend completely on God.
The day we left our oldest daughter at a college 8 hours away from us was hard. Watching her grow and mature and meet forever friends and learn to do life on her own has been thrilling.
I still forget at times that, as she repeatedly says, (jokingly:-)???!!!) when she’s home, “No one can tell me what to do! (Note, she’s mocking her 4-year-old self when she does that. But I’m pretty sure there’s a message in there for me and her Dad:-)!
- Speaking of their leaving, recognize where you may have become overly dependent on them for your happiness, identity, or security.
I love our younger daughter’s fiancé, and I love how they enjoy hanging out together. But honestly, sometimes I miss my buddy who was ready to go get a pedicure with me at a moment’s notice:-)!
When our fourth graduated from high school and went off to college, it took me a little time to get used to not being “anyone’s mom” — as in, “Hi, I’m Robert’s mom…” or having school events to attend.
Name the loss (see number one above) and cling to God. He will meet you in loneliness and confusion, reminding you that you are his beloved child.
- Smash the idol of perfection. There is no right way to do parenting in transition — except by prayer and strong support of wise friends.
Early in the process of having one child engaged, then another, I complained to a dear friend, “I just don’t know how to do this. I need a book to read on ‘how to do engagement as a mom.’”
She so kindly and sagely remarked, “What if it’s not about doing it right? What if it’s about doing it well?”
What she meant was that this isn’t a “by-the-book” thing. Sure, there are books for M-O-B’s and M-O-G’s (no, I didn’t know what that stood for either until I became one — Mother of Bride (Groom);-), but the only book that helps you know how to let go and name loss and mess up and know you’re forgiven is the Story of Grace the Bible tells.
Every night I have a new wedding anxiety dream (I should start a twitter account on this:-) —
Last night I dreamed that the florist didn’t show up for my daughter’s wedding and that she was wearing a giant plant on her head (she hopes to wear a crown of greenery and flowers:-).
Then I dreamed that a huge box of rehearsal dinner invitations arrived and as my future d-i-l and I looked at them, they were in fact “Welcome” letters for my daughter’s wedding!!!
The truth is about weddings — the hardest struggles are the relational ones. The only way to do it well is by the grace of the merciful, ever-loving God.
- Finally, even though I actually have more (email me if you want to hear them:-), Rest and pray.
You will see those humongous lists in Bed, Bath, & Beyond of all the things your graduate will need in his dorm room. Forget it. You’ll never get it all. The work to “be ready” will never be completely done. Even when you think it is, you will have missed some things.
Learn to say “no,” and learn to lie down on the couch. And pray.
Pray in the morning, pray in the night, pray in the noonday. He is listening. He knows. He cares. He is your center and will re-orient you to what is essential — giving and receiving love as Christ our Savior did. The pressure’s off.
What about you? What transitions have you struggled with? Have any of these suggestions helped you? What others would you suggest?
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