Friday, May 20, 2016

A New Chapter

Kid number 4 graduates from high school tonight. Three years ago, when we were graduating our "last" child, I had no idea we would be here again. Life takes so many unexpected turns, doesn't it? Just when you think you've got it all figured out...

Big days, like this one, bring such a mixed range of emotions. And I am all over the map today, kids.

Pride: Thomas has worked so hard to get where he is today. He has stayed in school - he's shown up - he has invested his time and his energy, his heart and his soul - he has done well. 

Everyday. Every. day., he faces down hard things and is learning to choose life at each one of those challenges. When he has failed to choose life, he is learning that a failure is not failure if you learn from it and keep moving forward. (We are all learning that together.)

Panic: I had seventeen years with the other three and panicked at what we hadn't accomplished, what we'd failed to teach, what we had inadvertently missed. With Thomas, we've had two years. Two years! That is not enough time, guys! There is so much we want to impart to him in this short time - what have we forgotten? What did we miss? The proverbial marbles-in-a-jar are gone! My mind races with what I could have done better.

Expectation: He's on a good path. He's got some big plans and I fully believe he is capable of achieving his goals. I am excited to see where Thomas's journey is headed. I feel confident it will end up looking different than any of us envision at this moment, but I am joyfully expectant for the good God has planned.

Fear: Life brings so much heartache. Thomas is, painfully, all too familiar with that, and at a far younger age than any of us should be. We don't want our kids to suffer. And while I know God is big enough for whatever life brings, the unknown still causes this Mama anxiety.

Anxiety: Thomas is staying around for a couple of years while he continues vocational training. One of our older kids stayed around for a year, the other two left almost immediately to pursue school and life outside of our home. Living with an adult child is much different. We're going to be figuring out new ways to live together. To give him the space to be an adult, but still respect and honor one another in a household of adults. This is challenging. It is hard for me to not be in Mama-mode all the time. It's a good thing, but there is still anxiety in the unknown, in new waters.

Peace: We've done this three times before.  My kids have made me proud. They have caused panic. They have given me many reasons to watch them with joyful expectation. They have given me cause to fear. 

And we've survived.

God has been good to us.

So I will choose peace today. Joy. Hope.

What we've forgotten, we will try to pick up as we go. Where we've failed, we will trust our God to redeem our failures and bring good. When there is heartache, we will surround one another with love and support. What we don't know, we will learn together.

This is life.  It is hard and it is beautiful.

Today will celebrate the beautiful.

Congratuations, Thomas!  I am so, SO, SOOO proud of you!