Today is the first day of school. On some levels, this makes me happy. Happy because after three months of doing next to nothing, it’s nice to finally get back on some sort of manageable schedule. But on another level, this make me sad. Because my oldest child is a senior. Today is his last first day of school…the last year I will buy him an agenda and a lunch bag…the last year I will watch him in a school talent show…the last year I’ll rent him a tux for prom…the last time I will ever have the chance to drive up to an institution of learning and drop him off at the front door without also having to leave him there for a few weeks or months (which I will totally do today even though he has his license. Even though he is perfectly capable of driving himself to school. He’s a good kid. He’ll deal with my mushiness without a single eye roll. Or else).
Anyway, on Saturday morning I wrote a blog entry detailing my feelings about today. Pretty much a woe is me about my kids growing up. About how time is going fast and everyone is growing and changing and rapidly flying toward adulthood. About how this time next year—depending on college choice—we’ll quite possibly be minus one in this house. About how I miss babyhood, how I miss those first milestones, how I sometimes miss one child on my hip and another one holding my hand. And I do. Miss it, I mean.
Saturday night, I deleted that blog entry.
Because a sweet friend and neighbor lost her husband on Saturday. An accident. No fair warning. No flashing yellow light or time to switch lanes. No chance to prepare for an altered life…a life that involves four children and three sets of grandparents and the familiar reminder that life is harsh.
A woe is me just no longer seemed appropriate.
So today I’m trying to remember that yes, I can cry about my kids growing up. That yes, I can outline all the ways they are changing. That yes, I can lament the fact that they’re getting older and wiser and becoming mini adults right before my eyes.
At the same time, I can choose to rejoice that they are happy. That they are healthy. That they are whole. That they are with me. Which is really all a mom who trusts in God and knows He has a plan and wants her kids to discover that plan can ask for. Besides, God made these kids. And He made them to grow. In Him. In life. And though time is short and days move fast and things sometimes happen that we can’t explain or understand…their lives are a gift. My husband’s life is a gift. My life is a gift.
All beautiful things.
And I think we’re meant to embrace this life—to focus on the sweet a whole lot more than the bitter—with everything we are and everything we have.
While we have the chance to do it.