I enjoy reading Erma Bombeck quotes. My mom used to read Erma's articles all the time when I was a child and I never understood why she thought they were so funny. Now, I get it. She was funny in an ironic way quite often and I relate to that. I saw this one today: “Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After twenty-two years of child-raising, they are unemployed.”
That describes how I am starting to feel.
I have been a mom for thirty years. For much of that time motherhood is what defined me. Largely, the decisions I made during the past thirty years were influenced most significantly by how one or more of my children would be affected. I made sacrifices and worked hard to try to make sure they were all going to be okay in the world. I prayed daily for health, safety, future spouses, careers, goals and everything else that would help them be Godly adults in a society which doesn’t always respect Godly individuals.
One of the most difficult parts of being a mom is letting go. That is my struggle right now. My son just graduated from Michigan State University as a doctor. It was exciting and inspiring to be part of that ceremony and watch the culmination of many years of hard work, prayer, dedication, more prayer and studies. The joy on his face as he received that degree speaks deeply to this mother’s heart. He will be moving to Boston in just a few short weeks.
Next weekend my daughter will be graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I cannot believe she has finished high school and four years of college and is so grown up so very quickly. It seems like only yesterday I was freezing through her softball games while marveling at her athletic skill. She has accepted a position as a children’s ministries intern at a church in Indiana and will be moving there about the same time her brother heads off to Boston.
My baby follows the college graduations in June with her high school graduation. She already completed and graduated from Cosmetology school. She is a seventeen year old licensed cosmetologist and I’m telling you - she is GOOD at what she does. More importantly to me, she is happy and thoroughly enjoys all the aspects of her role as a cosmetologist. I have prayed faithfully for her and listened to her cry and struggle as she contemplated giving up this past year under the pressures of the grueling schedule. But she persevered and has accomplished so much at such a young age. She will be moving to Ypsilanti soon to live with friends who attend college in Ann Arbor.
And so my struggle to let go has begun in earnest. For thirty years I ate, drank, breathed, and slept as MOM. I cannot imagine it will be easy to step back and just let them all go when the moment arrives. Believe me, I am praying and praying for peace through that time which is coming way too soon.
There is comfort in these times, though. Not only have I read the promises in the Bible which assure me God answers consistent prayers - I have experienced them throughout my life as a mom. I take comfort in knowing my children are going to meet the right spouses - I have prayed over those unknown individuals for so many years. He brought my oldest daughter the perfect man for her and I know He will work again for my other children. I know they will find ways to serve Him with their lives, because I have asked Him to grab their attention, to be real to them and not to let them go. I know He will catch them when they fall, because I have asked Him to never let them down. I know He will guide them as they seek Him - because I made that request on their behalf.
My Grandma Boswell died when I was thirteen years old. She lived in Missouri while I was growing up in Southern California, and I only saw her every few years. I did not know her very well. I was not raised learning about Christianity in my home, I was raised to make a choice about whatever I wanted to believe in.
But Grandma Boswell wrote to me faithfully while I was growing up - letters I barely remember receiving. I have many of those letters still and the words in them now are precious to me - because in every single letter my grandma ever wrote, she told me she was praying I would learn to know Jesus as my Savior and that I would never forget Him. She prayed I would give my life to Him and that He would bless my days. Those letters and descriptions of her prayers speak volumes me now as I have seen God answer them in my lifetime.
I firmly believe those consistent prayers petitioned to God by a grandmother I hardly knew are a huge part of the reason I have the relationship with God I have now. I will see my grandmother again someday - largely because she was faithful to pray for me and those I love.
As I find myself facing unemployment as a mother - and I see how God has answered prayer upon prayer - I am sad to see my kids move on, yet joyful to know God goes with them, is with me and there are still more answered prayers to come!