Yikes!!! Have we told our kids all they need to know before we leave ??

Warning !!!  If you have a child graduating or leaving home,this post may cause your eyes  to “leak”.  Just thought I’d give you the heads up.

“Momma, I’ll be fine.”
(inscription on the bottom)

This little Hallmark, porcelain,  tear-jerker was given to me when our oldest son, Roger III , graduated from high school and left home for college… beginning life out of our little nest we call home and gathering his own life twigs to build  a nest of his own.

It made me cry then and it still makes me cry today !  It may have originally been for a mom who is seeing her child off to kindergarten or first grade but it was absolutely perfect for me as we sent our 18 year old son 24 hours away to the “country of Mobile, AL” .  Perfect because don’t we , as moms, always see our kids from this viewpoint — that of a little boy or girl??  I’ve actually had those moments where I’ve looked into their adult face and completely seen the little girl or boy that grew up under our wings at home.  It was just like the movie,  “Everybody’s Fine”, with Robert De Niro, where that exact same scene was captured so well as he was trying to re-connect with his adult children who had now left home.  (Grab your tissues and watch it !)

Fast forward from that scene in 2004 to June of  2012 where our last son, Ben, is graduating from high school.

Only in this scene, we’ll be the ones moving our home nest 16-18 hours away to the “country of Alabama” and he’ll be moving to a new place  to begin his own adult journey  here in Connecticut.  Flying out at the same time is our daughter, Rachel,  almost 22  .  In this case “2 for 1” does not exactly feel like  a bargain deal , if you ask me !

With just days left  before we all fly off  in all different directions, I’m thinking of all the things I need to say– want to say —   and wondering if I’ve taught them all they need to know to sustain life and live well on their own.  I tried to remember what my mom said to me before I left home and honestly, I couldn’t remember anything significant except for her famous line before my wedding day…”Just be yourself and everything will be okay”… oh boy…that one is loaded !

So I began “pondering” this thought and started making weird mental lists to share with them…

Be sure to brush your teeth every day …(not sure why that came up first ??)–

Wash your sheets regularly (I don’t think I could go so far as to give them an actual time frame on that one — I’m just hoping they do it , period !)…

Get enough rest and eat healthy food…

Always help clean up the dishes after meals so you don’t overburden the hostess…

Make sure you thank people… really thank them…

Walk in integrity — nothing good comes from dishonest gain…

Spend time with God daily —

Be generous givers !! …

Stay in relationship with others who encourage and challenge your walk with God —

But don’t stay in that bubble without getting out to be a light to others…

Love God with all your heart — and soul — and mind …

Love people — really love them —

Surround yourself with a variety of people …

Don’t forget to help the poor…

Pray about everything … (Now that I think of it … I do remember my mom telling me this over and over.)…

Set good boundaries with your friends and family so those relationship stay healthy and you don’t get drained or burned out …

Call your mom and dad regularly…

Keep in touch with your siblings …

For Pete’s sake, when it comes to food —  “if in doubt, throw it out” ( another line I do remember from my mom!)…

If you get a letter from the DMV– respond !!! …

Come visit Mom and Dad ! ... we’ll always, always have a room for you whenever you need it !

Remember, there’s nothing that would ever keep us from loving you and calling you our own ! …

Let your life attract people to Jesus — not distract them…

Be a part of what really matters in life — and be  “all out”  about it !! …

Then it dawned on me– I don’t remember much of what my mom said to me — but every single day I do something that reminds me of her.  The way I love God — love my children — treat others around me — is so much a piece of my mom in me …lived out in my life.  Could it be possible that how I’ve  lived before my children is far more impacting than a “list” I could give them printed out on disposable paper?  Won’t the life we’ve lived together and the things they saw that were important to me and my husband be printed indelibly on their hearts forever ? Will they subconsciously carry a little bit of us with them and in so doing, carry the values and principles and passions we’ve lived out before them? Haven’t they seen that loving God and loving people are really all that really matter?

But there will be bumps in the road, God!  I want to try to help them avoid all bumps and bruises … you know, lay the fluffy blanket right down on the road before they hit a rocky spot??  I don’t want them to make the same mistakes we made, God !  I ultimately want to FIX everything so that it all comes out like a beautiful ending to a made-for-tv-movie… you know, where they all live happily ever after!!  Can’t I just ask for no suffering to grow their heart or at least “small suffering” if they have to have any at all?  Is struggle the only route to character? Do they have to turn left and right before they hear that still small Voice behind them saying..

This is the waywalk in it.”.Isaiah 30:21 (NIV) .

Why do You have  to give them a steering wheel at all?  What if the left lane is full of financial wrecks or physical pain delays?  What if the right lane  has struggles or disappointments or failures and they end up in the break down lane for a long time?  And then the real question surfaces…can I trust the God of the universe to speak into their life personally and tell them… “This is the way…not that one… walk in this one.”  Will He tell them fast enough??  Will He make it clear enough?

And I ponder long and hard and I know… I have to trust God with their story — there’s really no other good option.

 So today… I’m going to trust God with their precious life story — thanking Him that Carrye and her children weren’t in the middle of that crash on I-91 this afternoon…thanking Him that our others all made it home safely… thanking Him that they’re not going hungry… thanking Him they’re loved not only by their parents but many, many other people as well. I’m going to rejoice with their journey…their story that God is writing for them on a daily basis.

And as only God could orchestrate from His choir in heaven, I ended up sitting  in our church in Connecticut on Father’s Day crying tears of joy as I watched three of our children  worship  our Father in heaven with voice, guitar and keyboard– also knowing that at the same time my husband was sitting in our new church in Alabama watching our oldest son and his wife dedicate their sweet baby girl to our Father in heaven.  I cannot tell you how overwhelmed my heart felt with grace  at that very moment and the Holy Spirit began to speak the words my heart was failing to come up with…

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.   3 John 1:4  (NIV)

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10 thoughts on “Yikes!!! Have we told our kids all they need to know before we leave ??

  1. My brother,Tom, and I are all that is left of that family of six that grew up together. In our sixties we still talk about Mom and Dad. Tom hopes that Dad approves of what he’s doing….I hope Mom sees me taking care of Tom. When we left home back in the sixties, we flew far and fast, never giving a thought to that family unit that had molded us. Yet here we are forty years later still trying to follow those principles they instilled in us. We decided that they would be pleased…we are doing OK.

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  2. Oh Joy….so well written! I had tears running down my face….from one mom to another….you nailed it. Love you girl! And mind if I copy your list…I love it!

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  3. Oh Joy, how thankful I am and how good of the Lord to bring me into the family early enough to sit at “mom’s” feet and learn much of her Godly wisdom. You relay it not only with cerebral skill but with spirit-led tenderness. Thank you for the reminders. I needed them! Thankfully, I’m married to another benefactor of her wisdom. Blessings overflowing and amen to the need for kleenex.
    Sure do love you . . . always have . . . always will!

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  4. This is incredible!

    I just graduated from high school, and will be going to Emory in the fall. I am leaving my parents and my home. I will be the first one in my family to move away for at least four years. Both of my older brothers stayed at home and went to college.

    Knowing that I won’t have the support of my parents in college, this post is really motivating. Thank you for writing it! I really appreciate it 🙂

    http://www.rifatmursalin.com

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