School starts on Wednesday for all of my kids except Andrew, who goes back next week. I am usually more than ready to drop them off in their classrooms on the first day of a new year but, this time, I am already fighting back tears, and we still have a few days to go.
I am not sad about the structure that awaits or about the fact that I will have a quiet house again. I am growing weary of refereeing fights between a couple of my kids who seem to have lost the ability to speak nicely to each other. And I’m tired of telling them to turn off their screens and use their imaginations like regular kids. Because that suggestion inevitably brings more fighting.
But this week marks the end of the last summer before my kids start leaving home, and that makes me want to stop time and savor every single second. Except for the seconds filled with the arguing that I already mentioned. Maybe we could fast forward through those.
While we took the family vacation of my dreams back in June, and it did not disappoint, we haven’t had a whole lot of family time since then. Jordan and Andrew have been gone for most of the summer between scout trips, summer camps, and Trek.
When they were home, I had many conversations with Jordan about the future and the decisions that await him in the next few months. We discussed where he should apply for and attend college and what he might study when he gets there. (Will music win out over a more practical option?) We talked about whether he wanted to serve a church mission right after graduation or attend some college first, and how he could prepare himself to make all of those life-changing choices.
I wish I could put those heartfelt conversations into a bottle so I could save them and revisit them again and again. The winds of change are blowing and soon those moments of candid dialogue will merely be memories because this son of mine won’t be living in my home for much longer.
While that has always been the goal, I’m not so sure I am ready to stare it in the face. I don’t think I am ready to have a home that is void of the beautiful music from his piano practice. I don’t know that I am prepared to watch from the sidelines while he makes huge choices that could make or break his life, wondering if I taught him well enough to thrive on his own.
I wish I could prolong summer for a little while longer, noise and all.
This year will be packed full of change and goodbyes will come, whether I like it or not. I know that will be difficult for this mama’s heart, but it is already overflowing with gratitude for the privilege of raising a young man who, strong-will and all, has taught me more than I could possibly write in one blog post.
I am gearing up for a year unlike any I have experienced thus far – a year that marks the beginning of a new era for us. I do it with a touch of sadness and an abundance of hope because the world is at his feet and I can’t wait to see what amazing things he does with his life.
So I will dry my tears, pray until my knees bleed, hold my breath, and watch this not-so-little bird hone his skills in preparation for his impending flight from the nest.
Be still, my beating heart.