Published on: Jan 7, 2012
As parenting goes, I have always dreaded the day when I uttered these words: "THIS is worse than potty training." Since my kids are pretty close in age, I was potty training at least one of them for three straight years. I'm being self-aware not self-deprecating when I tell you: I'm not good at teaching toddlers the tricks of the toilet. I'm not. (And please don't leave me any tips here because really, I've heard them all and besides, they pretty well have it down by now.)
I said then, as I've said for the last decade or so, "I dread the day when I say, 'This is worse than potty training.'"
And I have not said it. I didn't say it when eight-year-old Trellace spent five days in the hospital because of a ruptured appendix, or when, at 16, she went to summer camp in Nairobi (of all places). I didn't say it when pneumonia bored a hole through Baker's lung in the fifth grade or when he got his first girlfriend. And I haven't said it despite Margaret's ongoing issues with migraines and asthma.
I guess in all of those situations, I felt like I had some control even if in reality, I didn't. I've had migraines all my life and I've studied asthma since Baker was diagnosed at 15 months old. We have great doctors in Asheville so my children have had excellent medical care. Baker has always chosen great friends, whether they were girls or boys, and Trellace was well prepared for her African adventure.
But this stage? THIS is worse than potty training.
You see, stitched into the very fiber of my being is a longing for all three of my children to have the desires of their hearts. Likewise, I want them to grow into adults, not to remain children. I want them to reach for the moon and I want to give them a boost to help them get there. I want them to move on to the next stage (the alternative is unthinkable), and to continue becoming all that God has created them to be.
I just don't want to let them go.
I want Trellace to go to the college of her dreams. I just want to go with her. And I want all of her friends to go with us too.
In truth, I think it's the friend thing that makes this whole stage nearly unbearable. See Trellace has really, really great friends. We have played together, laughed together, dreamed together. I feel like I'm not just letting go of my daughter, but also of a group of girls who have settled into my heart right along beside her. It's so hard.
It's worse than potty training. Worse, and just as inevitable: because I wouldn't have wanted to take my kids to kindergarten in diapers. And I wouldn't want my kids or their friends to grow old without growing up.
So it's time. It's time to celebrate the painful, beautiful, gut-wrenching, hope-filled transition from what has been to what will be. Ready or not: here it comes.
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven . . . " Ecclesiastes 3:1
Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 28 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.
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