Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Slippery Sand

My oldest daughter will be coming home for her summer break after her first year away at college in about 2 1/2 weeks. How do I feel about that? Surprisingly, I feel a tad bit distraught.

You weren't expecting that, were you? Neither was I. Throughout the year whenever she would come home on break I would be filled with excitement. Hugs. Cuddles. Smiles. All three kiddos. All right there under my roof. Why the trepidation as her first college year comes to a close? I'll tell you...

About a week ago I was thinking about T coming home for the summer. It wouldn't just be a weekend visit or even a week. I would have her back home for 3 months. Wouldn't that be wonderful? Yes! Yes! Yes! Ummm. Wait...

As I was standing in the kitchen thinking about these wonderful months ahead when all the kiddos would be home a realization swept over me - the realization of how fleeting time actually is in this world of ours.

Think back to the moments you have had in life when you realized how quickly the sands of time have slipped through your fingers. Maybe it is looking at how quickly a vacation came to an end. Maybe it is seeing your child's face and no longer seeing those sweet chubby toddler features and then blinking and seeing a young adult in front of you. Maybe it is returning to your high school or college to span the faces and realize how far you've grown and changed from those days. So many moments in our lives when we stop and truly FEEL how time has gone by and we have barely noticed.

So, there I was in the kitchen feeling the excitement of T coming home from her first year of college. And then it hit me. She was finishing her first year of college. The specks of sand that made up that year of her life have now been swept out to sea. It went so quickly. It went so very fast.

In that moment I grasped the sands of time within my hands and just stopped to contemplate.

I dared to glance ahead in that moment and think about the future. Just three more years of college for her. Possibly a semester or longer studying abroad. Then the search for a job that may take her far away. When will this house no longer be her primary home? How quickly will the time come when I am looking forward to her visiting this house rather than living in this house?

I challenged myself to think about my son who is now looking at colleges and will be heading out for his first year college experience soon enough. Two of the joys of my heart will be spending more time under another roof than this one.

I thought about sitting at the dinner table with our youngest each night. How empty the table will feel.

Yet that sand is slippery and, although I grasped it tightly, it slid through my fingers and in that moment my excitement was gone and I was feeling a bit distraught. Being a mother and having my house filled with children is by far one of the greatest joys and blessings in my life. Whenever something I love comes to an end there is always some melancholy. However, the feeling of melancholy is usually fleeting.

As a parent, I know that part of my role is to raise my children to be strong, faithful, independent, and caring. Because of that, my feelings of distraught are washing away. I am hopeful. I will cherish the moments that we have together now. I will celebrate the milestones of my children as they continue to grow and mature. I will rejoice in their uniqueness and their journeys.

I choose to sit and delight in the sand as it slips through my fingers. It is sunkissed by the love of my children, my husband, my family, and friends. The warmth of the sand and the sound of the waves bring me comfort and peace. The tides are ever changing, the landscape is shifting and moving, yet I look around and remember the beauty of yesterday, give thanks for the wonder of today, and wait in anticipation for the blessings of the future. The view may be changing, but the beauty around me remains.