It never ceases to amaze me that this life journey we are on constantly tries your patience and always tugs at your heart-strings.
I recently wrote that watching my daughter “graduate” from elementary school tore me up as I watched my little girl walk across the stage. And today, I just experienced another first in my journey – watching my eldest take off from a family vacation to head back to college.
Wow. It seemed really odd to watch one of my children leave our vacation home separately from the family. I know he is a young man, complete with the autonomy that comes with being 19, but it was still a strange feeling. This week’s vacation was our last week together as a family this summer. Despite reading and listening to accounts of the difficulties of having college kids come home for the first summer, our experience was very pleasant.
Having the family all together for the summer was very enjoyable and it’s hard to believe that the summer has already come to an end.
But today, the realization that we are on the cusp of a new era, a new chapter and frankly, a new “normal” for our family, hit home. I suspect it will take some time for me to adjust to this new normal that sees our children become independent enough to slip in and out of our daily lives, our daily routines. It is a day of paradoxes, for it is a day that we work all our lives for, yet it one that you are slightly sad to see arrive.
You raise your kids to be independent, to grow up to be responsible and productive citizens. And while he is not there yet, he seems well on his way.
I certainly experienced this to some degree last year as we sent him off to be a college freshman. But over the last year, I have witnessed some of the transitional changes that will culminate in graduating from college and entering the world as a productive adult.
God gives us nine months to prepare for a new child to enter the family fold. I am grateful that there is a four-year transition from teenager to young adult. I have a feeling, based on how I feel right now, that I will need every bit of the four years to adjust!
From a parent’s view, watching your child move closer to that ultimate goal is exciting. Nevertheless, it is indication that life will never be the same, and its time to embrace the new normal.