Today’s post is a beautiful little something that my sister-in-law wrote while fighting back tears as she watched her college-aged son head back to school from Christmas break. Sometimes when we’re in the midst of parenting, all the pressures/stress/hopes/fears, we could use a birds-eye view of just how fast it goes. And hopefully from that height, we can gain perspective and love their socks off, embrace the challenges, laugh at hilarity, let the stresses roll off our backs and engage these amazing kids that for the moment are under our feet. Because the next phase comes so much quicker than we realize.

 headlights on a counrty road

We anxiously wait to see the headlights appear down the driveway.  The dogs will bark and we will run to the back door to greet him.  It’s mid-December and he has not been home since the first of August.  We have seen him, or course, even just a few weeks ago, but we were not at home.  The magic of the Christmas season adds to the excitement.  Our home is glowing with Christmas lights, nativity scenes, special dishes, two extra leaves in the table, and round the clock Christmas music playing in the kitchen.  It all passes in a blink!

However, I can not complain.

This holiday season was full to overflowing with family, traditional Christmas meals, traditional Christmas pajamas ( some not fitting quite right :), and the joy of having all my children back under one roof.  Now I am not one who has ever struggled with sleep, but once everyone is here, there is a  more peaceful sleep that comes over me.  There was a lot of hosting going on this month.  My wonderful in-laws were here for five days, followed by 30 college students who attended the Passion Conference.  Then my sweet sister-n-law came in for a long weekend.

Now here we are a week later, getting back to “normal”.  The decorations are stored for another year and my January purging has begun.  All the sheets are washed and bedtime curfew is back!  This morning (pre-dawn) we said goodbye to our oldest heading back to school.  One more egg-in-the-hole (his favorite breakfast), one more hug and then up goes the garage.  It is very early so just his Dad and I are there to wave goodbye.  All the siblings delivered their hugs and high-fives the night before after one final round of dominos.

The dogs bark and we wave from the door watching the taillights pull up the driveway headed for Texas.  I ask myself if I will ever get used to this moment?  I think not.  The tears will dry up and the everyday will kick in, but thankfully the tears will always come and part of my heart will have left with each child that heads out our door.  Then I smile with a full heart realizing that so many hopes and prayers have been answered.

We genuinely enjoy being with our kids.  There is no one apart from my husband that I would rather be with.  Our kids are walking their own personal journey’s with the Lord, that far surpass any kind of relationship I had with Him as that age.  And we have become home to them.  We are their place of sanctuary and refuge in this crazy world.  I watched this in my oldest this season.  He rarely left home at night.  He wrestled with his brothers more, sat around the fire with us and watched, renewed his heart with time in the Word, and watched a lot of movies.  It was like watching him take a deep cleansing breath before he heads back into his world that he loves so much!

So headlights will come and tail-lights will go, but my heart is overflowing with the gift I have in each of these souls the Lord has entrusted to me. The sun is now up and my early riser finds me in my usual chair enjoying some quiet.  “Is he gone,” he asked?

“Yes,”  I reply with new tears.

“Don’t worry mom he will be back soon and we will cream him in dominoes!”  He climbs in my lap, hugs my neck and all is right in the world!

Chris Wills, mother of seven, is married to my oldest brother. She has been my best friend since kindergarten and lives too far away in Alpharetta, Georgia. This was a journal entry that she shared with David and I’m so thankful he shared it with us.

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