Another thing that dawned on me this weekend with my parents--kids leave! Now I already knew this, but realizing that my brother, sister, and I were once my mom's little munchkins running around in diapers really made it hit home. She had days that felt lonely and crazy. She got sick of picking our playdough out of the rug, and of trying to get us to eat something vaguely considered healthy. But as we all sat around the table for Mother's Day brunch, I realized here are all three of us pretty much independent. My brother just finished his freshmen year of college, and although he is spending the summer at my parents' house, his time there in his life is probably quite limited.
I so often forget that the state of having little kids in the house is just a season in life. A season that goes by all too quickly. My mom takes such joy in holding her little grandchildren. She talks about what it was like when we were little and the joy she felt in raising us--and here we are all raised! My mom's work as a mother is in a drastically different season than mine. She has transitioned into offering advice and support rather than constant supervision and care.
Someday our kids will leave. They won't need us anymore, and in reality the whole point of raising them is so that they won't need us anymore. The goal is to help them become independent, clear-thinking people who can navigate the world mostly on their own. We hold them close so that they can be well formed and leave us. I realize that I will always talk to my kids and offer whatever motherly help I can, but there is a huge difference between offering advice and taking care of most of their physical and emotional needs.
This time we have with them when they are so small and helpless is a season. We have the honor of seeing them in their vulnerable beginning years and guiding them into adulthood. It is a season that is difficult but also hugely meaningful. It's strange to think that the time in their lives that I will remember so clearly they will remember very little of. We can only strive to imprint love on their little hearts so that they will always know how lovable and valuable they are.