There is nothing harder then letting go of your children when they are more then ready to go. Weather it be those first lunging steps, the first night without a sitter, the keys to the car, or those steps to independence as College students.
I am reminded of the song "What it Means to be Loved" by Mark Schultz. This song gets me every time I hear it because it is the way I try and live my life. I don't always succeed by I try. As I think on the boys births and know what a struggle it was to get each of them here in their own way, the overwhelming thankfulness of having them and being able to be their Mom sometimes takes my breath away.
Now Paul and I didn't parent like the normal parents and maybe that is because we were told we would never have children and we knew this before we got married so we weren't expecting any. When they came it was such a miracle in every sense that we chose some pretty tough choices. We had a list of rules for ourselves, I know that may sound strange but we did and we still follow them today sometimes to a fault.
I gave up a career and we talked late one night when I was pregnant with our first and we both agreed if we were going to be parents our kids would come first in every situation. We would not put them in daycare and if God thought us capable to raise a child then we would raise that child, it is the most important job in the World. So I quit my career path and became a full-time Mom. Yes, I have had to hold down a job now and then to make ends meet but for the most part in 21 years I have been a full-time Mom. If I had to work I worked nights or during school hours if the boys were in school which wasn't long because I home-schooled all four at one point or another. Now we come to another step in this process of raising children, they are young men. So as parents we are in the midst of deciding what to do or how to help them become independent without dropping them entirely. If you know us and you know our boys you know this is going to be a big challenge for us. We are not what you might call, people that have a life outside of our kids.
When you put your kids first in life, friends tend to slip away. Sure you have a few you will always be friends with and a few, even though they think of you as nuts have accepted the way you parent; but most went their own way a longtime ago. It didn't help that we were extremely busy raising kids and taking care of parents and we have moved all over the countryside either, we don't bar hop in fact short of a small glass of wine neither of us even drink and we both prefer the non-alcoholic wine if truth be told, we don't do the 'Social Scene' well- never have. So what is one to do when your trying to have your kids become more independent but in someways your just as a dependent on them?
Paul and I went for a walk and made another list... It is one of those lists that we would have made for Caleb when he was little or Isaiah now as we try to make him less shy. We have to find a couple of friends that understand we are Parents first and probably always will be. They have to understand we run just as much and do just as much for my Parents as we do for our kids, and our weekends rarely are ever our own to claim. They have to like to play cards- hearts and spades particularly. And also our new friends should enjoy camping and canoeing. Just sitting by the campfire is something the two of us can do for hours. We also discussed how it would be nice to find friends that would enjoy a good game of tennis every month for Paul and someone who likes to walk and talk kids for me. And it would be a big bonus to have a set of friends that take care of their parents and were Christians to share the burden and struggle of being obedient in this area.
By now you are all laughing but this is actually what our conversation was about and this is what we came up with, the part that is difficult is where do we find such people? Where do we find people like that and how in the world do you make more then superficial friendships at our ages?
Well, we had no answer. We have been each others life line and support and best friends for so long, dealing with so much over the years together as a team not wanting to burden anyone else or trouble them with our trials in life but instead doing what we can to help ease theirs. We are a pretty introverted couple.....
"Friends come and go but Family is forever" There is a truth in that. People move on, find other groups of people discover others in life meet and become friends. But here's a question what about the people that are very busy with daily life? That have given everything to do what they thought was right at the time and still have major time constraints on their lives? Do they deserve friends too? Or because they don't have time to go out, or get together weekly or chat on the phone everyday are they not worth the energy and time in being a friend?
Interesting to think about isn't it? Now where to go from here? That is to be discovered.