Love Letter To My Grown-Up Children

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Kaila and Kieran–Austalia, January 2016

Dear Kieran and Kaila,

I hope you don’t mind that I’m openly sharing this personal peek into my heart. I was going to mail this letter, but then I thought about all the other mamas who are where I am or will be one day and I wondered if they needed words to attach to the jumble of emotions that are inevitably part of this “letting go” process.

I can’t believe this moment took me by surprise. After all, I’ve had two decades to prepare for it. Still, it hit me pretty hard that you two are turning 18 and 21 in just a matter of days. The reality of what that means has left me a bit breathless, and to be honest, a lot scared.

I feel like I’m short on time, and I wonder about all the things I left unsaid and untaught and undone. Never did I think it would be so hard. I always thought moms knew instinctively what to do to settle their babies, and to conquer life for their children, and then to launch their adults, ready to face life’s challenges.

But I quickly found out I was not one of those moms!

I was a blundering mom, trudging my way through every new phase wondering what the right thing to do was. I was sure I was going to have to pay for your counseling sessions one day (thank you for sparing me that expense…so far 🙂 ). Every day, I asked God to parent you because I was certain I was messing it all up on a large scale. It’s okay if you agree. You still turned out amazing despite me.

But here I am again.

Kayla's first day in the world--Feb 8, 1998

Kaila’s first day in the world–Feb 8, 1998

Trudging through.

Scared.

Asking myself questions like,

“Did you know how much I loved you or were you unsure of the priorities of my life?”

“Did I hold you enough while there was still time or did I let my to-do list trump my heart?”

“Did I model to you how to love your spouse and live with their best in front of you, or did you see me seek my own way over Dad’s too often?”

“Did Dad and I prepare you to be a servant in your homes and communities by modeling that or did you see too often that our flesh and selfishness took over?”

“Did we authentically live out our faith before you, or did we cripple your faith with our own weaknesses and doubts?”

“Did Dad and I teach you how to really build a life and a home and give you the tools to do it?”

Those questions and more keep wiggling their way into my consciousness and making me feel a sense of urgency at the disappearing days. I can’t take back the years. I can only pause in this blink of a moment to tell you what I hope you already know, but want to make sure you do.

1—I have failed you and will continue to fail you, but God never will. He is a perfect parent who is never too tired to listen, or too selfish to see what you need, or too insecure to handle all your emotions. He is always good, always kind, always right. He will never let you down. Ever.

2—I’m sorry. I am. You know I could list a gazillion ways I got it wrong. I never meant to. I’ve prayed through the years that the scripture be fulfilled that claims, “Love covers a multitude of sins.” If my love isn’t enough, I know God’s is.

3—Love others better than they love you. Love without fear of getting hurt or getting behind. Love when it’s hard. Be the one who says, “I’m sorry.” Be the one who forgives first. Be the one who gives in. It may not gain you the promotion, or the recognition or even any appreciation, but it will allow you to live a life without regret.

4—Be patient with me as I release you. I once was your home. My heart beat to keep you alive. It always will. Only, you’re grown-ups now. You don’t need me for survival anymore, but I’ll forget that sometimes. Not because I don’t trust you, but because I’m learning how to trust you to the One who has been the true Sustainer of your lives all along. It’s hard but I’m trying.

Friends always.

Friends always.

5—I am so, so proud of you. You are amazing. There aren’t enough words to fully convey that to you. Of all the things I’ve accomplished in my life, nothing compares to our family collectively and individually. Not because I take the credit. But because you are evidence of a Living God who can and will do what I cannot. He traded my inadequacies for His sufficiency. I asked Him to parent you and He did. The proof is in the fact that you look more like him than you do me.

So, you two, it is with some yearning that I look back on years that went by much too quickly. But I also look with promise into the future that is before you now. You are ready for it. Be patient if I’m a little behind the curve; I’ll get there.

I love you both so much,

Mom

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Kieran-always a snuggler.

Sweet Kaila.

Sweet Kaila.

From Lancaster County

MWM blogger

MWM blogger

I am conflicted.

I am on a family vacation in beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with it’s Amish charm and lazy-day feel, and I both love and hate it. 0610140849Like the farmland around me, my heart is being tilled and broken up to allow new seed to be planted, and while I enjoy the prospect of new growth, the process is painful.

On the one hand, I want to live in the moment and embrace this last vacation time with my oldest child before he chases his own future in Australia, On the other, I am aware that all I know and love is about to change. The landscape of my life will never look the same and it’s a bit scary as questions arise in my heart about what the harvest will be.

I grew up on a farm and I know that every spring is a hopeful time. A farmer invests his time, money, and toil in what is yet to be, sowing into the land with the prospect of reaping a good return for his investment.

I suppose mothering is much the same. We too labor over the fields of our families and do all we know to do and then trust that it will produce something of value that will sustain us at a later time.0610140854a

So here I am second-guessing. Questions plague me as I consider that Kieran will leave in just under a month.

Did I sow the right seeds? Did I tend to them well enough to make him strong enough to handle the rains that will beat down on him and the storms that will inevitably come? Did I teach him how to properly guard his heart to protect the good seeds sown or will they be devoured by the insects of greed, lust, and vanity? Is this the right time to transplant?

My heart says yes, and yet I’m back where I began–conflicted.

I suppose this is where faith must take over. Just like every faithful farmer, I’ve done all I’ve known and now I have to leave the rest in the hands of the Master Gardener and trust that Kieran will be counted with those “that may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3)

In the meantime, I will speak and claim this promise over my first transplant, believing God will do in Australia what I can not:

The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. (Isaiah 58:11)

For those who have been here, I’d love any wisdom you can offer. For those who are here with me, I pray for your peace. Together we’ll trust that as we continue to sow into our children, we will reap a harvest of joy in our own hearts.