The other evening as I went into my home office to look for something I saw the basket sitting in the corner with an unfinished quilt on top. It is a quilt that has been in this basket for quite awhile and I chuckled to myself as I thought of all the unfinished projects that sit there. I used to say to myself, "when the children are gone I will have time for all of this."
I watch now as our grown children are all parenting their own children and reaslize how true it really is "in the blink of an eye they are grown and gone." They have all gone to their own lives, their own times, their own hopes, dreams, troubles and joys. And if I am going to be completely honest it was difficult to let go of them. If my kids were honest, they would tell you I failed the test often of being able to let go.
As a mother, I was a worrier...sometimes, a first class one at that. I wanted to spare them pain and heartache and always wanted to rush in and "fix" things. That was pretty simple to do when they were little, but really quite impossible to do once they are all living on their own. As I sit and listen to mothers who are my age or close to it, I realize I am not alone in this. Most of us want to protect and defend our children and sometimes that does not ever completely die.
What I have learned is sometimes if I really listen I can learn something from them. I remember our daughter's father-in-law one time saying to Bob and I you have such a great family...kind of like the Walton's. That wasn't the reality...it was not all sweetness and fun at our house. Our adult children are a good group, but they have all seen some hard times and some dark days, some of their own making. And in some of those dark days, Bob and I learned we had to trust God for the outcome because His was the only voice that we could listen to.
Together, our family has learned lots along the way. We have watched people we love die, we have walked through divorce, we have leanred how to win and how to lose, we have seen pain, depression, failures, and broken dremas, not to mention broken hearts. There have been difficult choices and tough times, but through it all God has indeed been faithful. We have seen the blessings as well, births of 5 beautiful grandchildren, sunrises and sunsets, beach vacations, skiing in NH, and so much more.
The biggest lesson in all of this for me as a mother has been to let go and let God. Watching Him work in the lives of those I love and getting out of His way has blessed me and I pray has blessed these children He had entrusted to me for a season. We can't fix anyone's lives, only God can. My sweet gradmother's words came back to me as I pondered something the other evening: "as a parent and grandparent, you plant a few seeds and then you have to let go and watch them grow and trust that something good will grow."
Letting go...it is difficult for us Momma's who are like momma bears. We have to learn to help without holding too tightly, to care but to give them space, to nurture without believing we have all the answers. If we hold onto them too tightly so often we miss out on other blessings. Letting go...it truly has been an act of faith. I had to believe and I do that God loves them even more than I do, and that He is in control. It has been a blessing for me to learn to live with my hands as well as my heart wide open to the will and mercy of the God who knit us all together.
A few weeks ago, our two youngest got together with their families in Charleston, SC for a week of fun. I loved seeing the pictures on Facebook and felt so blessed that they had this time together. It was good to see the smiles on all their faces and was a reminder once again...I have seen all of them laugh and I have heard them all cry, I have watched them fight (sometimes there would even be a shoe thrown) and seen them make up...I have seen them walk through the struggles in their lives and I pray they all will seek to create more sweet memories and to always be there for one another.
I used to think, "how can I let go of them?' How can I not?