Life always changes, but this academic year is the beginning of a lot of ends for me.
A son is in the process of buying a fixer upper house and moving out. Another son is starting his last year of college which means launching into his career at the end. One daughter is getting her driver’s license and likely her first job. My youngest daughter is finishing home school.
Life’s one constant is that it always changes. For me, the beginning of these ends starts on Sunday as we move our son back to college one last time to start his job as a resident assistant.
Though it may seem cliche, it’s true. Time does speed by. It does feel like just a short time ago I wrestled with thinking I would never get a full night’s sleep or ever get through potty training.
It ought not feel scary buckling in with a new driver, but it is. I’m trusting her to listen and remember what she has been taught as I hand her the keys and let her merge into traffic. Driving can be life and death, so yes, it is a big deal even if I do know she’s smart and careful. When she’s driving, she has everyone’s safety to consider not just her own. Besides, I listened in on some of her driver’s education online teachings. That’s right. They had to pass the tissues. If anything, that made an impact. Ha ha.
As my kids purchase homes, it’s exciting. It also is clear that I’m not as young as I think I am. Since I’m older and wiser, I’m well aware of the trials that present themselves when you accept that responsibility. He loves construction and has great ideas. This transformation will be amazing, I have no doubt. Still, this mama gets on her knees and prays for the Lord’s care.
As a parent, I wonder, did I teach them everything I needed to, and were they listening? Will they eat right and clean properly? Will they make sure they turned off the gas and unplugged the toaster? Will they remember to call mama once in a while or at least send a silly GIF? Did my parents feel this way about me and my siblings?
I have heard parents say they couldn’t wait for their children to move out. I like hanging out with my kids so I have mixed emotions. Yes, it’s a proud day when they become self-supported and independent. (They can pay their own bills, hurray!) Still, it’s the end of a chapter in life so it’s a little bittersweet, just the same.
Now comes the planning for the next chapter, the dreaming of doing what I’ve put off for over two decades. Certainly, I’m still needed as a mom, but I will have more freedom myself. I can invest more time in my writing.
I’m not the same starry-eyed college graduate and newlywed I was, but the dreams that germinated back with the encouragement of an English teacher and even earlier with my love of books is still alive and well. I don’t know how it all will pan out.
I know that when one part of life ends, another begins. Beginnings can be exciting and even a little scary. In 365 days, we’ll have to touch base to see what wonders are appearing on the horizon. But then it will include encouraging another to be brave in a new environment just as I will be being brave in my new environment. I’m sure I’ll need tissues.
And all along, I’ll be asking, “Did I do enough?” I already know the answer. I did my best, and that’s all any of us can do.
What changes do you expect in the coming year?