I never really understood the power of close until it was first threatened. All my life I had dreamed of being a Mom, and although it was not an easy road, it was the one I was born to travel. My children curled round me on the couch like a fuzzy warm blanket--It is the stuff that makes the hard days, the sweltering in laundry days, the runny nose, colic, the never-ending-shuttles-to-school days bearable.
Spring is an exciting time of year for our kids. It marks the count-down for the end of school. We honor those who have made it through and are ready to graduate. I had dutifully attended many graduations before, but one year changed everything--it marked the graduation of our firstborn daughter. This life-defining event questioned all that I had lived for, my destiny as a Mom. This one event proved that I would not always have my children close.
No one prepares you for the day the notion that your child will not always be with you and live at home with you travels from the recesses of your mind to the reality of your heart. It hits you like a tidal wave. My children not always close? How can this be? I had lived in the present, I had cherished each milestone, I lived intentionally as the best Mom I could be for so long, and one day when I least expected it, everything changed.
The thought of not only my daughter moving far away to start her new life at college was bad enough. I mourned this during graduation, after, and all the way to the day we packed all of her earthly possessions and sent her on her way to her new life as an adult. I mourned more than I had ever imagined I would. Wasn’t this God’s plan? Weren’t we parents so that we could train up our children in the ways of the Lord and send them out to be world changers?
A few summers later, we moved our second daughter four hours away for her new start. Our first daughter spent the summer in Africa, and our son was in Macedonia for a short term missions trip, I paced up and down our long driveway and wondered how I had missed the signals. Why didn’t anyone else talk about this kind of loss? Weren’t they still our kids? Didn’t they still love us, with promises of visits a few months away?
But they weren’t close anymore. The gut-wrenching change that pulled them from the safety of home out into the world to test their wings, left me broken, but oh, so grateful. Grateful for the precious years spent close. Grateful to have been able to love so deeply, so completely, that even their leaving left such a hole that only His presence could slowly heal. The power of close is real. But often it’s only when they are gone that we appreciate it.