We have an epidemic of growing up going on over here.
Some of that is reason to rejoice, like the end of another school year ushering in summer break.
But some of it I feel the need to grieve over a bit, like how my youngest daughter is about to turn 9-years-old and 9 is a big deal to me. Bigger than 10. Bigger than 11.
Nine is the halfway point to her 18th birthday and halfway through the time I’ll have with her at home.
When my older girls turned 9, I found myself clinging even more to family time so I could treasure it and enjoy it while it’s here. Of course, they wanted more friend time instead.
And then there’s my son, finishing up his preschool year.
I remember when he used to call his sister, “Tat-Tat” instead of “Catherine.”
“Tat Tat go to dance? Tat Tat go to school? I want Tat Tat home.”
Seriously. It was adorable.
But then he transitioned to calling her “Caperine,” and now it’s a straight up “Catherine,” because he’s lost that little hint of babyhood.
I’m sad. I really loved hearing “Tat Tat,” and it’s another way we had to let go of something we’ll never get back again.
Then there are my oldest girls, making tough decisions. I’ve been stepping back and coaching more then directing, encouraging them to personally pray and seek counsel and then choose.
We’ve talked round and round and we’ve prayed and prayed over their choices about classes, activities, commitments and more. If they do this, they can’t do that. Is it worth it? What is best in the end?
Many years ago, when I had just two kids who were both under two years old, a lovely older woman told me, “It’s harder to be a parent of adult children than it is to be a mom with young kids.”
I think I blinked two tired eyes at her in disbelief.
Now I understand a tiny bit. This is what she was talking about, how it stretches us as moms and weighs heavy on our faith to let our kids make their own decisions and then handle the consequences of those decisions.
That’s starting to make a bit more sense now.
This week, I read in Psalm 127:
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate (verses 3-5 ESV).
Mostly I hear these verses quoted when people talk about the blessings of having a large family with lots of arrows in the quiver.
David Jeremiah, though, said:
The psalmist says our children are like arrows. And what does an arrow do? It goes to a place we can’t go, to accomplish a purpose we can’t accomplish (Hopeful Parenting).
He also quotes Stu Weber:
“…our children are the only messages we’ll send to a world we’ll never see. They are the only provision we have for impacting a world as a distance.”
I need the reminder just now that I’m not losing these “arrows” of mine as they grow up and they grow into independence.
No, I’m sending them out.
THEY GO WHERE I CAN’T GO. THEY ACCOMPLISH WHAT I CAN’T ACCOMPLISH.
THEY HEAD INTO A FUTURE I CAN’T FULLY INHABIT AND HAVE IMPACT BEYOND MY ABILITIES TO IMPACT.
So I value this brief time with my children all the more because as I pour into them and teach them and pray over them, I prepare and equip them to hit the targets of God’s good and perfect will and plan for their lives.
But it also helps me let go a little.
I still mourn some. I mourn not getting to make decisions FOR them or even WITH them, but instead allowing them to decide.
I mourn the loss of “Tat Tat” and how my baby isn’t a baby anymore.
But I find myself letting go and trusting God.
He is with them. He can teach them and carry out His will and hold them in His hands.
Originally published May 2016