Because it signals the start of a new school year, every single August tows along a trailer full of sad mamas and papas all lamenting the fact that their children are growing up. For some it’s that their children are starting school, for others it’s changing from one school level to another, and for a few it is that they are sending their babies off to college/military/technical school/life.
I understand this, of course, as I look at my First Grade Sassafras and distinctly recall that she was just born like two weeks ago. Tiny baby, just yesterday, I tell you. I completely get that time passes quickly and that our children grow up too fast and that they're always going through things we aren’t ready for them to experience.
What I do not understand is why that causes most parents to go into a state of despair. Last year I waddled into Sassafras’s kindergarten classroom as a very pregnant and very hormonal mama and I kissed her cute little self good-bye and I walked out that door without even the merest hint of a tear. Her precious teacher had tissues at the ready and, like many people, fully expected me to be in complete meltdown mode...but how about I wasn’t sad at all. I was joyous, y’all.
What I felt then in the deepest recesses of my mama soul was that my sweet daughter was right where she was meant to be, and I said as much to all the people who thought I was nuts for being not the slightest bit sad.
Would it be great if our little babies could stay tiny and sweet and squishy and giggly and we wouldn’t ever have to worry about all the mess that comes along with growing up and living life?
Heck to the no!
This growing them up…this is the point of being parents. I liked my girls as babies just fine, but I do not want them to stay little.
I want my children to grow up into kind and compassionate and daring and intelligent and gracious and courageous and faith-filled women who will revolutionize their world by the way they love and give and serve those around them.
Y’all, they can’t do that if I keep them in my lap for patty-cake and peek-a-boo.
I have dear friends who have lost children, and whenever I am tempted to groan over my girls growing up, I remember how those parents would give their lives to have their little ones grow and conquer milestones like going to kindergarten or shaving their legs or going to their first sleepover or graduating from high school.
Ecclesiastes is one of the most influential books that have impacted my life in recent years. A few verses in the third chapter explain the simple yet profound truth that there is a time and purpose for everything. For us as parents, we will be lucky and blessed when the era comes that we propel our children out into the world to drastically improve it as they have been gifted and trained to do. Keeping that perspective can help us all focus on the joy of the milestones of today.
So when we drop those sweet cheeks off at preschool or kindergarten or middle school, let’s cherish and enjoy the sweet memories we have as their parents but also remember that the memories aren’t the point of raising them.