The TV flicks on, and I search for my favorite music station on Pandora. Writing music.
Beside the music menu, Curious George’s face fills the screen. Tears prickle so fast I barely have time to blink before they’re racing down my cheeks.
My mind clicks back. Wondering how long since my boys and I read about George’s fishing adventures with the man with the yellow hat? (Fishing with cake? Only George could pull that off.) How long since we watched the colorful animated movie filled with a delightful soundtrack and a beautiful reminder about friendship?
Okay, so this post isn’t actually about Curious George. (Though it was one of my favorite book and TV show series when the boys were younger.)
It’s about parenthood–looking back, saying goodbye to yesterday, and leaning in to our Father when the looking forward scares us. (Because parents get scared, too.)
This year we have a 6th and 4th grader. Where these little boys went, I’m not sure.
The fact is they’ve grown, and grown, and grown. Now we face the newest phase in parenthood–letting them go, little by little, to new places where we aren’t.
Growing up and growing out.
Pass the tissues, please.
Up ahead looms a middle & high school retreat, where 6th-12th graders spend twenty-four hours at a camp an hour away. Wait, what? Away? Middle and high school?
Some laugh and say, “Get over it. It’s life, they grow up, they’ll be fine.” Others squint, tear up, and reach in their purse for extra tissues. “They’re your babies.”
Though they’re not babies anymore, they’re still our children. Still under our care, still young and impressionable. And I’m struggling in this transition, the reality of parenting that says we must let them grow up and grow out.
Become who God intends them to be.
Because God endures forever. Childhood? So very fleeting. “But You, O lord, shall endure forever, and the remembrance of Your name to all generations.” (Ps. 102:12)
Last night, my eleven-year old placed his hand on my shoulder, ducked his-almost-same-eye-level face. “Mom, did you sign the retreat paperwork? I have to return it tomorrow.”
He’s excited to spend time with three classmate buddies in a cabin. Playing games, having fellowship. I’m praying about it, giving my worry to God and remembering His great love for our children (greater than my own).
While walking this morning, I noticed an oak tree in a neighbor’s yard, surrounded by dozens of saplings. Little trees that haven’t been mowed down or pulled out. Acorns taking root and growing.
But instead of growing up and growing out, these little baby trees are growing up and in. Close.
Those saplings reminded me. God doesn’t want us growing up and out like our children are, from us.
“You know everything. You’re all set, on your own now. Have fun!” Says God NEVER in His word. Instead, He wants us close, because He knows we need Him.
Growing up and growing in.
God’s word calls us, reminds us, pleads with us, to stay close to Jesus. To grow up and in. Close to our Savior.
“As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children.” (Psalm 103:15-17)