I blinked…

This past weekend, our oldest son took senior pictures. Senior. Pictures. Seriously, wasn’t he a toddler just yesterday? Wasn’t he farming the carpet in the living room last week? Wasn’t he racing around the couch while watching the Cars movie last month? 17 years. I blinked and 17 years have gone by. I know I wrote about it recently, but wow.

All last week I was out of sorts. I was crabby and irritated and couldn’t figure out why. Full moon? Seasonal changes? Weather cooling off? (Nope, actually fall is my favorite,) Looking back, I was just nervous about the pictures. Not really the location or the photographer, but the realization that I have a senior… And my time with him is now measured in months instead of years. The photographer was great. We did several different shots & I’m sure they will be wonderful. I didn’t make him dress up, because that’s just not his style. I wanted the pictures to be representing things he loves. I blinked.

I blinked, and Nerf guns were replaced with trap shooting guns. I blinked, and Matchbox cars were replaced with real cars. I blinked and toy tools were replaced with welding tools. I blinked, and my boy became a man. I feel like the sand is slipping through my hands at a rapid rate. Sure, he might visit, but it won’t be the same. Pretty soon we will be making graduation announcements. Pretty soon he won’t be telling me about the ducks and geese and fish and deer before going to bed. Pretty soon, the lasts will happen and I won’t even know it.

Ugh. My momma heart is aching. As much as I want to hold on, I know I need to let go. In less than a year, our house won’t be the same. In less than a year, they won’t randomly go fishing on a nice summer day. In less than a year, his mowing jobs will be turned over to his brother. So much to do, and such little time. I need a pause button.

So, to all my fellow senior parents, I’m here with you. I’m trying to keep my eyes open, because before we know it, May/June will be here and our lives will be different. Blink. Senior pictures. Blink. Graduation day. I’m wishing you peace on your journey of enough… and I’ll have some extra Kleenex for you. Let’s cheer these kids on to the best senior year.

No rest for the weary?

Normally, I sleep pretty well. Aside from when my boys were small, I’ve usually been able to sleep well. My husband is a very light sleeper and gets up pretty early. If it was up to me, I would probably sleep longer but I always feel guilty sleeping in. After all, there is stuff to do. I’m not a 5am type “early,” but I do get 6-7 hrs of sleep. And I need to or I don’t function well. I know this about myself.

I was recently thinking about the difference between sleep and rest. To me, they are not the same. I can sleep well, but not feel rested. And I feel like my soul needs rest, but it does not need sleep. In the last 6 months, many of us have had more time at home than ever before. Some of our busy has been replaced with other kinds of busy. Commuting worries replaced with internet speed worries…Wondering what to wear replaced with wondering what to cook… Trip planning replaced with “at home” routines. Balancing work, school, cooking, homework, internet speeds, lack of travel, gardening, markets, relationships, baking, mental and physical wellbeing has been exhausting for my soul. Some days are better than others, but I’ve felt a general sense of needing rest, regardless of how much sleep I get.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Matthew 11:2

Ugh, weary. That word just speaks to me so much. Weary is a very vivid word, and it makes me think of a tired soul. Weary – like a mom who needs some time alone. Weary – like a teacher worried about her students. Weary – like a pastor who just wants his congregation to be together, but also to be safe. Weary – like a cancer patient navigating treatment during a pandemic. “Come to me, and I will give you rest.” Jesus isn’t saying for you come to him and take a nap. He is saying to come to him with your burdens of worry, and lay them at His feet. How many times would you like to take off that weight on your shoulders and set it down? You can. Easy to say, not as easy to do. We hold so tightly to the straps on that burden, clenching it in our fists… afraid to set it down. Afraid of the “what if’s.”

  • What if I didn’t do enough to help my kids?
  • What if their time online outweighs their time to be “kids”?
  • What if work doesn’t think I’m doing enough?
  • What if my house is messy?
  • What if I have to say no to someone?
  • What if my kids’ mental health suffers?
  • What if mine does?
  • What if I miss the Senior year and don’t soak it up enough?
  • What if my health suffers?
  • What if a loved one gets sick?
  • What if I miss out on time with my spouse, even though we see each other more?

Lay it all at His feet. Hand it over. Worrying just steals from today, it doesn’t change anything. Telling someone not to worry is also not effective. So maybe we do both? Allow the thought, acknowledge it, and release it. Either hand it over to God or write it on a piece of paper & burn it. Release it, so you can rest.

I wish you peace on your journey of enough… The kind of peace that gives your soul the rest it needs. Time to get some sleep too.

Delayed, not “done”…

I signed up for a writing retreat a while ago. It was supposed to happen in May, 2020 in Florida. Time set aside just for writing (at the beach) sounded wonderful. I looked forward to the time away, just for me. I ignored my introverted fears and even had planned for a roommate whom I had never met. And then the pandemic hit, and our retreat was delayed. We could not fly to Florida in May. It was delayed to November. Ok, November might be alright? Getting away from MN in November still sounded like a good idea. Recently, they decided to move it to a remote/online format. I respect and understand the decision. Traveling in November still would be risky, so I canceled my flight and hotel. I also decided to cancel my spot in the retreat. I know it will be wonderful. The people putting it on are amazing and talented. But I also know myself. I know that an online format for this kind of retreat would not get my full attention. I’d be distracted by things at home, work requirements & taking vacation time just for me. So I’m delaying my book writing idea, but I’m not done.

Many things have had to be delayed this year. We don’t have to give up on all of them though. We didn’t go camping this summer, other than our back yard. We didn’t have a 25th anniversary celebration. We didn’t take a family trip this summer. Hopefully these things are just delayed and not done. With a senior in high school this year, I know our timeline of delays is limited. It’s beyond my understanding though. I know I need to release the idea of being able to control things. Just because you know something is right doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

This year seems like the year of delays. Whatever delays you are facing, I hope you don’t give up. Hang in there. You are loved. You are needed. We will get through this together. Peace be with you on your journey of enough.

Back to school, just different…

He checked off the items on his school supply list, tried on 5 different suits, got his lunch bag and water bottle ready to go, packed his gym and cross country clothes and made sure he had his mask. He wrote his schedule down on a piece of paper and packed what would be his locker contents into his bag (this time, he included hand sanitizer). The first day of school for 8th grade would not look or feel the same. 25 emails, 10 different changes, last minute schedules and new requirements make this year much different. He won’t see all of his friends because many of them are on the other side of the alphabet. We are alternating between “in person” and “distance learning.” Every other day he will be in school then at home. It’s just different.

This will be the first time he has been in the school building since March. When some kids jokingly said, “See you next year,” we didn’t think they would be right. He didn’t get to say goodbye to his teachers or friends. Didn’t get to have the back-to-school night in person (it was via Google meets). This year will start out with masks, lunch in the gym, no lockers, and one-way traffic in the halls. No more “hanging out” before school. No more visiting with buddies at lunch…. just different.

It is difficult for my momma heart not to worry. Even though he’s 14, this year is just so different… for a kid who likes routine, how will he do? Will he be able to hear in class? Will he find all of his classrooms without being able to see them ahead of time? Will he be able to change out of and back into his suit in time? How will tomorrow go for distance learning? I can’t reassure him with specifics because I just don’t know. I guess I can tell him it’s just different. Life doesn’t always go as planned. Wear the mask, smile with your eyes, make lemonade out of the lemons and learn to adapt.

By the way, he probably did better than me today. Peace be with you on your journey of enough. We will get through this different time… hang in there.

Ready. Not ready. Ready.

Normally, in MN, we start school after Labor Day. That is still true, but our oldest son started PSEO (Post Secondary Education Option) at the Technical College. He had orientation last week Monday. He is a senior in high school, but he will be 100% at the Technical College for welding.

He is ready. He is ready to be welding. He is ready to be a senior. He is ready to explore. He is ready to set his own schedule.

I’m not ready. I’m not ready for a different senior year. I’m not ready to take senior pictures. I’m not ready for planning a graduation party. I’m not ready to have him move out. I’m not ready to watch him drive away or bring him to college. I’m not ready for an empty room.

But it’s not the end. 18 years is just 1/5th of your lifetime if you live to be 90. What will be other 4/5th of his life bring? Will he remember what he learned at home? Will he have good manners, clean up after himself and be able to cook? What will he miss or fondly remember about his childhood? How often will he return? Will he find someone to share his time? Where will his life path take him?

I’m ready. I’m ready for him to walk across the stage at graduation. I’m ready to hear about his adventures. I’m ready to listen to more hunting and fishing stories. I’m ready for the excitement in his voice when he finds the perfect fishing spot. I’m ready to bake his favorite brownies when he comes home on the weekend.

I could worry about it or I could embrace it. I had to make my own mistakes. I had to fall and pick myself up. He will have to do the same. I have to release control. I have to trust. I will continue to cover him in prayer. I will float between “ready” and “not ready” for the rest of this year… maybe longer. There is a lot I wasn’t prepared for in motherhood. Letting go is one of them.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. To all you moms of seniors, cheers to a great senior year. To any seniors reading, give your mommas some grace and patience. We want the best for you, but we still see that cute little kindergartener when we look in your eyes. And we love you more than you will ever know. (Unless you have kids of your own… and then you will realize the depths of our love for you.) And some day, you too may be ready, not ready, ready.