Our children benefit most when we encourage them towards an open mind and cultivate in them a passion to explore the world. Here's one part of our story.
The other day we were part of a party.
It was a send-off party for our 24-year-old son, Justin, and his lovely bride, Jacqueline. They have just begun a year-long (or more) adventure living in Galway, Ireland to both pursue masters degrees. If things go well, Jacqueline may proceed with her doctorate.
This send-off party followed years of dreaming – especially on Jacqueline’s part, I’ve learned – and a year or more of waiting, planning and preparing. During this time as well, they – and we – spread out a blanket of prayer over the whole process.
This send-off party followed two farewell parties, attended by a bevy of friends and family wishing the young couple well, praying over them, encouraging them. And just hanging out.
Leaning into the challenges of "adulting"
Quitting his job at a well-respected hi-tech company in Silicon Valley was one sacrifice Justin made to the larger dream. He was well aware of the higher calling pulling on his soul. Still, he was fraught with anxiety leading up to that day he put in his notice with both of his bosses, only to find they were totally supportive and admired him going after the dream.
He learned a valuable lesson in that: People often don’t react or respond in the way you perceive they may. In this case, his worries were largely unfounded.
For Jacqueline, this step is among the largest, most daring ones she’s taken in her life as she has not lived outside of the San Francisco Bay Area before. Plus, she is extremely close to her family and especially her younger sister and only sibling.
The step to fulfill this dream was not without challenges and doubts. "Is this really the right move for us?" "How will it be to live so far from those we love?" "What if things are not the way we envisioned, moving overseas like this?" All of these questions and more arose in the process.
Bittersweet moment ... new season!
Still, they took the leap. The time had come for this sweet couple, just under two years wed, to strike out on their own. And we were all at the airport saying our goodbyes. A bittersweet moment.
As a mom, moments like these are filled with a whirlwind of emotions. There is that son, the one who came from my own womb, staking out new territory. I am all about my children exploring the world, learning about other cultures, getting higher education, following their dreams.
A mama’s heart must be brave and strong. It must endure the moments when children disregard you, when they rebel, when they choose to follow a life very different from what you’ve imagined for them. And then you discover, it’s precisely imagining what their life is to be that becomes the stumbling block in parenting. For when we let go and allow our children to be enfolded in the arms of something – Someone – higher, they grow and so do we.
Someone has said motherhood, or parenting in general, is about the process of letting go from the moment the little one pokes his or her head into your world.
And yet, those heart strings are strong and enduring. Your child remains a part of you, and you of him/her. Always. The process of becoming for both continues on, whether nearby or halfway around the world.
We bade them goodbye. But, in reality, it’s more a hello into a different season of growth and discovery.