Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Babies Are Growing Wings

I picked my daughter up from her piano lesson the other day. It was a rare occasion for the two of us to be alone in the car together since she was the only one who was well enough to go to her lesson last week. As we drove home, she asked me to pop into our old neighborhood. We moved away from there nearly six years ago already and as we drove past our old house, she began to talk about all the memories of her early childhood in that home. As she talked, it suddenly donned on me just how much life has changed since then and I remembered the day we walked through that empty house, with the kids for the very last time. I sat out on the back deck and gazed at the big tree where they used to play  "ready, set, go" and climb or sit in its shade on summer days for hours, looked at the swing set where they spent many happy hours, the sand box where the kids spent spring and summer afternoons playing or swimming in the pool, the side yard where we played numerous games of baseball and Frisbee and tag with them in the summer, and at the beautiful, big deck my husband and some dear friends built off the back of our house which held countless fond memories of summer meals and back yard birthday parties for our kids, my Dad's seventieth birthday and our grandson's baby shower.....I took one last look at our beautiful master bedroom where one of our granddaughters was born, and walked through the children's rooms....so empty and bare and I cried. I grieved. It was like a punch in the stomach. It hurt so much to leave that house.

We had outgrown that house and we purchased a bigger one with five acres. As hard as it was to leave, we knew it was best for our growing family. We have been in this home for nearly as long as we lived there now. We adjusted to our new surroundings quickly and this has become home as much as the old one was. New memories have been made and time has marched on....at a fast, steady, beat.

When did our babies become children, teens and adults? It's crazy how they change right under our noses.....and we don't even notice.  One day you are sleep deprived, up to your ears in diapers, vomit, baby toys, diaper bags, cribs, playpens, runny noses, and nursing pads, wishing you could afford a babysitter so you could go out to dinner with your husband a little more often. You blink and those days are gone. There is no longer a baby in the house. The kids are old enough to take care of themselves whenever you feel the urge to get away.  It's rather surreal how fast life moves and how quickly things change. To be in a whole new season of life.....with no babies in the house and no toddlers either....actually feels surprisingly normal. Life gets going at such a rapid pace that sometimes we cease to notice the changes until for a minute, it slows down and you're scratching your head in bewilderment wondering how you got here...to this place....in such a short time.  Somehow those days blended into history so softly, we didn't even realize we were looking behind us....at pictures and videos of our babies and toddlers rather than experiencing them in the now. It's a strange feeling. I always wondered how this season of life would feel and now I'm here. In fact, I've been here for a while!

The years have flown by and the dynamics of our family have changed dramatically. We don't have babies or chubby cheeked toddlers. They have all grown taller, slimmed down and taken on a more mature look.

I didn't think I would ever arrive at a place where I would not lament over no longer having babies of my own, but I have. Maybe it's because grandbabies started arriving while my children were still babies themselves. I don't know, but I'm okay with the idea of our kids growing up and it's pretty cool to see who they are becoming as their personalities, talents, interests, dreams, and goals have begun to emerge.

It's kind of cool when they become skilled at things you struggle with....and offer to help you, or actually take over that detail of life. It's fun to see the gifts God has given them begin to really flourish. It's rather amazing to see the character they have developed and sometimes sobering at the same time, as areas that need to be addressed surface, and you realize as a parent you don't have much time left to speak into their lives on a daily basis and the seriousness of your parental calling is staring you in the face. Time is ticking and it's tempting to hold on to them too tightly, but you know you can't. You have to move into the future one day at a time with them and learn to let them grow up and become who God created them to be.

I pray daily, several times a day, that God will cover my shortcomings as their mother....that they will be well prepared for what He has in store for them, and that they will all see their need for Him, always and embrace their own relationship with him.

I have been noticing the potential in each one of our kids and wondering who they will become over the next few years....what skills will be most important for each of them individually and how we can best equip them.

All of them are musical. Three of them at home are becoming very skilled at the piano. They sing beautifully too. Some of our kids draw amazingly well.  Some can't draw at all. They all love to read. Some of them love to debate. There are some who enjoy research. Some of them enjoy public speaking. We have a couple of very gifted writers in the family. Some of our kids really enjoy the outdoors and love to work hard, physically, outside. All of the kids enjoy cooking and baking. Some are good at math. Others excel in language skills. Some enjoy science and others not so much. It will be interesting to see how God uses each skill in their live to hone them and prepare them for His purpose for their lives.

This is one of our younger boys, Noah.

He is such a delightful, sweet, thoughtful little guy and he has some artistic talent. If it was up to him, he would probably draw and color and do art of some sort, twelve out of the twenty-four hours in a day. He loves it that much.

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When I was sick last week, he made the sweetest card for me. It is tucked away in my special chest where I keep things I cherish now, but it was on display for several days before that.

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Some of Noah's drawings he has given to me as gifts.

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Does anybody recognize the characters in the picture below? Name the movie, if you can.

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The last one, is a project he made in Sunday School. I love it!

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I am trying to take time to breath in and out slowly every day, to hug my kids with hugs that are a little more lingering, tousle their heads, look in their eyes when they talk to me, and cherish each conversation. Time is ticking. I feel an urgency to seize the moment with each of them because I know from experience, I will blink and they will be grown up and gone.

18 comments :

  1. What a thoughtful, wonderful post! Your children will rise up and call you blessed!

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  2. I had such a great time chatting with you. I love you, Mom! <3<3<3

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  3. What precious art work! And it's encouraging to hear that the baby urge does either go away or lessen as the years go by! Hugs to you!

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  4. Thank you, Myrna (((hugs))) I appreciate your comments and always enjoy hearing from you. We need to get together again! :)

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  5. Chrissie, that was such a fun and special time. I enjoyed it very much too. Love you MUCH!

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  6. Thank you, Shanda. :) It's nice to hear from you! You have such a beautiful family and it's evident that you really enjoy being a mom. You're doing a beautiful job with all of your kids. Those baby urges....yes....eventually they do reside. I think it's amazing how God works in each individual life and prepares our hearts little by little, for each season.. He is so faithful. (((Hugs))) to you too!

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  7. Hello Dear Jana! : ) So nice to see you blogging again! I look forward to catching up friend! I know how you feel, my baby is 20 now and I wonder where time flew? Even though we are blessed to have our daughters at home, it's a strange feeling at times, they are busy going to school, going to work etc. I now cherish just going to smalltown to the grocery store with one of them.

    I'm following you now on bloglovin' so that should work out well for us to communicate and read each others' blogs! Yay!

    (((hugs))) ~Amelia

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  8. Oh yay, Amelia! I'm really excited to be connected again. It's so nice to be able to each use the blogging venue we each enjoy, but still be in contact and able to keep up with each other. Blogging has come a long way since we started so many years, ago, hasn't it? It's great to hear from you. Your girls are all such a delight and I enjoy seeing their posts and keeping up with them on Facebook. It has been good to know that I could connect to you through them, but I am very happy we can now connect directly. It is hard to believe that your youngest is twenty already! The time sure seems to truly have wings, doesn't it? She is the only one I don't see on FB. Thank you for stopping in and leaving a comment. Love and (((hugs))) to you!
    Jana

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  9. Beautiful post, Jana! We love driving through our old neighborhoods, too! :) BTW, I love your new blog look!

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  10. Thanks, Jody! I'm sure Chrissie will appreciate that comment. :) She worked hard on it for me. Yes....driving down memory lane really is special, isn't it? My heart couldn't take doing it very often though, lol. :)

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  11. I love your post. It made me smile so much! Those are the sweetest little drawings! And, I enjoyed hearing about each of the diverse talents that your children have as well. - Carmen

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  12. Thank you, Carmen! Your comment blessed me. :) I took a look at your blog and it's just beautiful. I love it! I'm adding you to my reader. Blessings to you,
    Jana

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  13. I was reading this carefully this morning...I so understand your feelings Jana! I'm in such a strange season of life these days... God is so good though, patience turns to His Faithfulness. : )

    xxxooo love, amelia

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  14. Oh dear, I am so sorry, I meant to also write and tell you what a darling that Noah is! His sweet face and countenance is definitely an attention getter in a good way! Precious, soooo precious.

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  15. Aw, thank you, Amelia! I am sure you can really relate to this as your beautiful girls have become young women in such a short time. I have enjoyed watching them grow up. It seems like just the other day you were posting pictures Rebecca had taken of her dolls and sharing about home schooling her. I love your girls. Each one of them is just precious and so sweet. It's hard to let go of being moms to little ones and children...the transition is tough at times, but it's amazing to be parents of adults, isn't it? To see who they become and what God is doing in and through them? All those years of hard work and service....and all the sanctification that happens in us as moms through it all is pretty amazing...and seeing them grow up loving Him makes all the tough stuff worth it.

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  16. Yes Jana, It is truly a great blessing from the Lord seeing the fruits. : ) Seeing the girls being used in Christian ministry, and even being a voice now in their maturity at various venues, as they speak from personal convictions, as the teachers at the community college can't argue with Marianna's testimony, life, integrity etc. Since the girls aren't married yet it is extremely interesting the paths the Lord has brought them in! Yep, we tell God our plans, the homeschool magazines told us the courtship plans and God laughs! *big smile*. Courtship is still tops but it's all in God's hands and when. Sometimes I think I should have had, Mrs. Amelia's finishing school for young men! I even received a sweet thank you note from a young man thanking me for making him aware of some things. Sooo precious. Sooo the Lord.

    We sure can't complain, we can say...All is Well. Praise the Lord. : ) It's so great seeing the girls and I'm sure you too seeing our young people, young adults serving the Lord in every area of Life. So amazing. So encouraging. Even though the paths are sometimes unclear we know that God is so Faithful like the old Steve Green song. 'Find us Faithful'.

    love you, amelia

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  17. Amelia, that's such a wonderful feeling for a parent's heart....to see their children grow up like your girls and be so solid in what they believe and model. I loved reading about them and the journey God has taken you on regarding courtship, although I think you shared just a glimpse of that with me here. He is faithful and it's interesting to look back and see the changes He helps us come to in our thinking over time. He's taken us one direction for a time, and then guided us gently in another direction later on at the perfect time and it all works together to round us out and keep us balanced in Him, doesn't it? <3 <3 What a blessing that God used you in that young man's life too! I need to stop by your blog soon. I've been so on the go.....but I am planning to sit with a big mug of coffee and catch up with you! (((Hugs))), dear friend!

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