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Toddler plates. You know, the plastic discs with little partitions in them so the food doesn’t touch? All four, each a different color for each of my children are still in my cupboard.

Last night, without thinking, I gave my kids a glass dinner plate for their spaghetti. They were so excited that they got the “grown up” plates. And then it hit me…why on earth am I still using these since I haven’t had a toddler in the house in almost four years?

Wasn’t it just yesterday though that they started eating solid foods, needing these essential vehicles to hold their chopped up finger foods? The tears started to roll down my face imagining myself throwing these beautiful memories into the dark, stinky Dumpster that doesn’t even care about my fragile feelings.

It has to be done though. I need to let go, which is one of the hardest things for me to do. I seriously just parted with the bottles and still have baby spoons living in my silverware drawer.( Now I use them for peanut butter and don’t feel as guilty as using an actual spoon).

Mama needs to get a grip, like now. I tell myself that I can go over and bottle feed a calf, but it’s not the same—not even close. There’s just a void that I keep asking, well, pleading really, with God to fill.

For the girl who’s always wanted to be a mommy, this hurts something fierce. To some of you, this may sound absolutely ridiculous and to others, we may be soul sisters with a deep understanding of these feelings, able to commiserate together without even saying a word.

The good Lord is closing a chapter on my life that He so very graciously saw fit to give me. He allowed me to live out one of my dreams…to have healthy babies, stay home with them, witness all their “firsts", and teach them that Jesus loves them—both the song and spiritual truth. For that, I am forever thankful. I suppose my farmer deserves a little credit too since he was a pretty big piece of the puzzle.

So, now what? I can’t just sit here and cry or chase after them, kicking and screaming when they disappear inside the school building. That’s not healthy for my kids and I suppose it’s not setting a very good example.

My job is to give them wings. Not only giving them the tools, but allowing them to fly. Let me tell you, that is so hard to do and yet so crucial all at the same time.

Even though it feels like a piece of our beating, mama hearts are ripped out of our chests when a little one gives a toothless, little grin and waves good bye on the first day of kindergarten or walks boldly across the stage to get his diploma. Instead, we should whisper a prayer of thanks.

With God’s help and guidance, we have succeeded in raising confident, good kidd that know who they are and most importantly, who their Savior is. That right there, that’s our job description: not making perfectly, smooth beds every morning, folding laundry neatly, cooking meals everyone loves, or crying over the outgrown carseat or last box of diapers (seriously happened…I’m pathetic).

We are raising them only so they can fly away from us. We want them to soar. Motherhood is the most bittersweet roller-coaster of emotions that one can ever be on. It is such a beautiful ride though, especially when we remember Who is in the front car and we can fully trust Him to lead until the ride is over.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We could never even begin to be the perfect parent that you are to your children. Please help us to let go and to trust you will take care of our babies, your babies, that we are borrowing. Flood our mama hearts with your perfect peace as we prepare to let go for another school year. Let us focus on the many beautiful memories and blessings you have so lovingly bestowed upon us. As we close a chapter, please guide us to open another. And thank you, for giving us this most precious gift and title. In your most holy name we pray, Amen.

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