Today’s post is by my dearest friend and sister-in-law Chris Wills. She’s always super nice to let me bother her to share with us tidbits going on in their home. I should have recorded our conversation last week about boy-odor, but we were laughing too hard. Just know, mothers of boys, you’re not alone!
But I couldn’t not share her thoughts written out below. The gist: we are created for TOGETHER.
Thanks for sharing, Chris … and thanks for walking the road with me.
Twenty four years have come and gone since my world forever changed. In that day a merger, partnership, and journey began that has blessed my life beyond measure.
Yet, I was so naive and oblivious to what God was up to. David and I always knew we wanted to have a large family. We did not have a number in mind just BIG.
In the years from 1992-2003 we had seven kids. Six boys and one girl. Our oldest is graduating college in six weeks, while our daughter and third born son are also in college. In the fall I will have two high schoolers and two middle schoolers still at home. Can you say roller coaster ride? And what a wonderful, painful, joyful, tearful, gut wrenching, stomach flipping ride it is and has been. From crying babies, sleepless nights, to walking, running, playing baseball, tennis, riding horses, and even raising chickens! Don’t even ask me to name all the dogs we have had through the years.
Then came puberty, voice changes odors, messy rooms, more odors. The next thing I know I am the passenger and they are the driver. Moms, this is a great weight loss program due to the amount of perspiring that takes place in that seat!
Before you know it, it’s time to pack them up. It’s “send off”, “drop off”, “move in” day. Almost four years ago, the first of these moments had arrived. Most parents have said their goodbyes, but we were leaving Jonny, our first born, in Texas and then headed back to Georgia. He will be 12 hours 36 minutes and 843.5 miles away!!!
As this decision was being processed, I am sure that I said something like, ‘Just because mom and dad were born and raised in Texas, just because there is wonderful family right up the interstate, just because dad and his whole family went to school there doesn’t mean you have to!’ This is where I’m certain my oldest would give me that look. You know the “I love you, I’ve got this, there are six more at home to take care of” look. How dare any of them think they are replaceable! But then we hug. The kind of embrace I will forever hold in my heart and his dad and I drive off!
Of course the litany of the list of things I have not taught him are running through my head! I cry and cry and cry. From Waco, to Dallas while the plane takes off and until the plane lands in Atlanta. Oh, and then the hour drive home from the airport.
One would think this has gotten better over time. That in four years and as Maggie and Chuck have left home I have handled it with complete elegance and grace. Nope! I am still the same blubbering mom I have been from day one of the “see you later” phase of life. It’s not that we are not happy for them. I’m thrilled and would probably be crying harder if they were not leaving the nest. This is why we have been preparing and training them. A time where they venture out and get to start discerning God’s calling on their life. Watching the unfolding of their character and their unique gifts in action has been a beautiful thing!
So why is this so hard? Why do the tears come every single time! How can I be so happy for them and feel so much sadness at the same time?
What God has revealed to me and why the “see you laters” are so hard is because “He has set eternity in their heart…” Ecc. 3:1. We are made for eternity not for good byes. It is woven in our being to want to be with those we love always. And thankfully, with faith in Christ, we will be.
So if you are a mom sitting in the depths of baby and toddlerhood realize the days turn to months turn to years in a blink. You will sleep again. They will all walk on their own and the dirty diaper smell will someday be gone and forgotten! You will become a passenger in the car breathing prayer the entire ride. Next your vehicle will be the moving van that delivers them to their next adventure.
“Our Heavenly Father has provided many delightful inns for us along our journey, but he takes great care to see that we do not mistake any of them for home.” C.S. Lewis
My tears are a longing for that day when eternity is spent with Him and those I love! In the meantime…Kleenex remains on my Costco list.