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Discarded but not quite thrown away,

this love-shaped wreath rests quietly in the rocks in our backyard.

Step on me.

Step over me.

But never forget who I am……………

I am “love.”

————————————————————

This past year I’ve felt so much like this wreath.

Snapping photos

Taking classes

Even teaching a college course

I’ve worked on discovering my new role in this big world,

all the while burying the truth deep inside my soul—–

When the gap between childhood and adulthood is so small that “mom” is all I’ve really known of the adult world, it’s difficult to see myself embracing anything else.

MOM

That’s who I’ve been since I was 21.

Caregiver

Problem Solver

Errand Runner

Temperature Taker

Clothes Washer

Boo-Boo Fixer

Snack Maker

Dinner Cooker (or at least Dinner Purchaser)

Game Attender

Party Planner

Schedule Coordinator

Loving almost every minute of the past thirty years,

I’ve grown accustomed to my three-letter name.

 I’ve seen the day coming, though,

the day when I would be removed from the front door and placed gently to the side.

Let’s face it,

the moving of the wreath has to happen from time to time,

because grapevines weather and wreaths sag eventually…………….

and who wants to be greeted by such a tattered sight?!?

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I’m okay with my lowered position, really.

The pressures off a little when you’re no longer front and center.

And to be honest, I’m almost as weary as my worn-out wreath.

The problem isn’t that my title is changing, though.

I’m still “mom” when I’m not hanging for the world to see.

Even moms with all their babies in Heaven are moms forever.

The problem is I’m no longer all the other titles…………

greeter

 coordinator

problem solver

party planner

fixer of boo-boos

And that means every single one of my kids is suddenly in total control of everything about their lives.

Every achievement and every failure.

Every action and every word.

And I hope they realize……………

Adults don’t always get the same kind of second chance children do.

So I lay here in the rocks asking questions like,

“Did I do enough to help them be ready for all of these new roles?”

Do they know the world is beautiful and exciting and filled with so much potential, but it takes hard work to accomplish anything worthwhile?

Do they realize people will disappoint them and hurt them but that NEVER, EVER gives them permission to turn their backs on them?

Do they understand that in order to experience unconditional love they need to be able to show unconditional love?

Have they experienced enough mercy in our home to show mercy to others?

Have they felt the power of forgiveness in such a personal way that they could never imagine being unforgiving to anyone who hurts them?

Do they know what kindness looks like and acts like and sounds like?

Are they willing to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes in order to see life through that person’s eyes?

Do they grasp the fact that honesty isn’t just the best policy but also the only way to live a life free of the inner turmoil that comes from walking in any other way than the truth?

Do they know deep down in their bones that there is NOTHING they can do that will ever separate them from God’s love or the love of me and their dad?

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I feel the cool breeze blowing over me as I embrace my new home on the pebble-covered soil.

I think I can get used to this.

It’s peaceful here.

—————————————————-

So to my adult children,

I want to say this,

Never forget that love truly is the greatest gift of all.

Love deeply

Love bravely

Love selflessly

“Over all other virtues put on love.” 

When you see a heart, think of your mom and know without a doubt……..

I love you so much.

Being your front door was fun while it lasted.

Thanks for the memories!

If God allows, I hope we will make many more with me happily off to the side looking up to watch you soar!

Step on me.

Step over me.

But never, ever forget…………..

I’m praying for you!

I’m so proud of you!

And most of all, I love you with every inch of my heart and soul!

MY KIDS

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My “hands-on motherhood road” is quickly nearing an end.

The everyday errand-running, awake-at-dawn then up-til-who-knows-when era is fading fast.

I’m a worn-down gravel road.

The years of memories etched into my very being.

Birthday parties

Sleepovers

Science fair projects

Field trips

Proms

Homecomings

Doctor’s appointments

Soccer games

Basketball games

Track meets

Band concerts

Guitar lessons

Art lessons

Piano lessons

Voice lessons

The list goes on and on.

I didn’t think it would hit me so profoundly –

This empty-nest stage of life so quickly approaching –

But I’m feeling it this week.

I’m feeling the rocks between my toes…………..

the sharp pain that comes from knowing my house will soon be filled with so many empty rooms.

Two of my birds have already settled into nests of their own and within months another bird will move to Japan and then my last little birdie will head to college.

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I remember when our oldest son began kindergarten over twenty years ago.

My mom so wisely said,

“Once they start school, the time just flies by.”

I’m sure I agreed (as any young mom should when her mom makes a reflective statement),

but I had no way of understanding that the “flies by” part

also meant that one day my very own little birds would flap their wings and truly

fly………..away………………

happily

eagerly

excitedly

out of our nest and into this great big, wonderful world.

I wouldn’t hold them back even if I could though.

What bird wants to sit in a nest

when the sky is the limit

and it patiently waits for them?

——————————————————————–

I really don’t think I’m struggling to let my birdies go.

I just can’t believe it’s already time.

——————————————————————

I turned one page in the story of my life and everything shifted.

Things that once kept me awake crying suddenly seem so insignificant.

Celebrations for games won and awards for feats accomplished are already starting to fade away.

There’s a sharp bend in the road ahead,

and I can either fear the unknown

or be excited about the new scenery that is quickly approaching………….

………for my little birdies…….

And for me.

Tonight, I’m wondering if my nest can really be empty if my husband and I continue to sit in it.

Maybe God is calling us to “fly” too.

I’m not sure what that means or even looks like,

but I do know this:

Our lives aren’t over just because our baby birds are flying away.

 

“Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

I may be a worn-down gravel road,

but I’m still headed somewhere.

And if I place my Hope in God,

I won’t just shuffle through life feeling the pain of rocks between my toes.

I will soar on wings like an eagle.

My nest will soon be empty……………….

but that just means this worn-down gravel road will soon be flying too.