Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Bridge

They say the only certain thing in life is change. I wonder why then, change so often times seems difficult and challenging, as though it's something we have never faced before.

Every day of our lives brings some type of change. An unplanned event, a detour on your normal route, getting a cold, spilling something on your blouse. You know the kind - just unexpected occurrences that cause us to rethink, re plan, refocus. Minor inconveniences that we deal with all the time.

But some days life brings bigger changes. Changes that we knew were coming but somehow it seemed so far away that it didn't really matter. We would cross that bridge when we came to it.

We arrived at that proverbial bridge this week. And the crossing of it is reminding me of why I didn't want to think about it before.

We are moving our baby into her college dorm room tomorrow. And this change, well this change is hard. We just don't feel emotionally ready yet to cross this bridge. Our lives are changing big-time and Jess has said that she wishes we would have had more kids so she wouldn't feel like she is leaving us all alone. Me too Jess. Me too.

Yesterday she packed up her bedroom. When I came home from work she had everything packed in boxes. She was crying. I was confused.

"Jess, you aren't planning on taking everything from your room to your dorm are you?"

"No mom, this pile of boxes goes to the dorm and this pile of boxes go to storage." sniff sniff

"Storage? What do you mean storage?"

"Well, you know, it's the stuff I don't want to take but I don't want to get rid of it either."

"Well honey, why don't you just leave it here. In your room?"

A blank look crosses her face.

"You mean I don't have to move out everything?"

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry harder! After talking about it with her I realized that her three older sisters never did return home after leaving for college. They either got married or moved across the country to go to more school. In Jess's mind, that is how it works. She felt that once she left she wouldn't be coming back home.

Oh dear child - our address will always be your home. Always.

So I helped her unpack the storage boxes and put the items back in her closet and on her shelves. So now her room doesn't look so bare. But I have to admit, based on her sisters before her, I fear she may never really come back home to stay again. And my heart can hardly handle that thought.

Change isn't bad. It's just different. Our home will be different without her. Our relationships will be different as we adjust to parenting adult style. Our marriage will be different as we adjust to being alone with each other more than we have been in the last 28 years.

But I wouldn't hold this girl back even if I could. She has so much promise and potential in her being that it is exciting to see what her future holds. God's hand is on her and He loves her dearly. His plan for her life is unfolding before us and I feel so honored and so privileged to have been a major player in the first part of it. She is so much a part of the both of us - she will do things I only dreamed of.

So those of you who are taking your babies to preschool and kindergarten and first grade this week - my heart recognizes that aching that you are feeling. As you have been told so many times - enjoy these days - for they are fleeting.

Love these days with your babies. Every now and then you will be tempted to look far into the distance and you will see the faint outline of a very large, seemingly formidable structure. It's shape will become clearer and closer every day and soon you will recognize the form of a bridge. Don't be afraid of it. It is supposed to be there. It is there for you to cross- it is strong and secure. Life on the other side of it will be good too.

Just different.


Lisa B. said...

At least you had four girls and were weaned somewhat over time.....mine will be quick and sudden. I only have one. I am struggling with preschool....I can't imagine college.

Karen said...

Beautifully written, Robin! I've crossed that bridge with the first of my four. Yes, it sure makes life different. But, I agree, I wouldn't hold him back for anything. It's exciting to see how much he has grown, in just the first year. But I do miss the 'little' boy!

Anonymous said...

My exact sentiments! I know I will be better next week but this week has been hard. It takes me back to her first day of kindergarden when I brought her back home. As I wanted to declare then I want to say now, "You do not have to go to school yet. You can stay home another year." New chapters in life are not easy. Thankfully, God makes the difficult changes bearable!!!

Judy said...

Bring on the tissues, please!!! How did you know to a 'T' how I've been feeling lately?! :)

Thank you. Love you.

Jayson said...

Wow, your writing is so profound. there is never a way to be prepared for moments like these, but we will all get through it. I'm sad to see her move out too. It seems like yesterday she was that little Jr. Higher who didn't like me. Times' a changin'

Michelle said...

what an insightful post! and hugs to you as your youngest goes off to college! My mom just went through this last year, although my sister comes home most weekends. And now it looks like I'M moving back home with 2 kids in tow LOL At least for the year that Joe is deployed. I'm pretty sure that's what we're going to do anyway, and my mom couldn't be more excited to have her grandkids there LOL ... so see, sometimes they do come back home :)

Bev said...

I can only imagine how much comfort this will bring to others out there, whether it's turning loose of their little hand to climb aboard the school bus for the first time, or like you being left at college with a new roommate. Change, you're right, it's constant, and a blessing for us, but sure doesnt feel too comfortable much of the time.

Dawn said...

Beautiful, Robin. Just beautiful. Thankfully she'll be down the highway, and you'll be at the same university? Right? I had to chuckle with her thought that she had to pack up everything - too cute.

I wish we had done things a bit more traditionally with the bridges - nothing normal at all for us!

Anonymous said...

so every time I read this I cry...I bet your are really surprised by that too :)
Oh mom and dad I miss you so much. It's weird because I can be having a great time socializing with new people (which is extremely tiring both mentally and physically) and I still get the feeling that I want to come home soon and cuddle up on your bed. The news is even sounding good to watch :) Thanks mom and dad for always being there even when im now suppose to be on my own. you bend over backwards for me and I appreciate it soooo much! thank you! much love mom and dad!

Mrs. Julie Fink said...

So true.

gail@more than a song said...

Change is always so hard, especially these with moving our kids to college. When the last of my 4 went off, it took me a while to kind of get used to not having anyone around at all; hubby liked it right off!
This is a sweet post Robin!

Kathy S. said...

OHHH sister!! I feel what you feel-partly cuz you are so good at writing-and partly cuz I am on the "brink of bridge".

Jesus bless you in the coming days with tears(female release valves) and His Presence whenever you get the pang of lonliness. oh my.

Visit when you get a chance. I tagged you.

Tiffany said...

I will be praying for you and your heart. I know when I decided to live at my child hood home instead of moving to the desert with my mom and siblings it was very hard on her. I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for you and for her!!

Kathy S. said...

Robin, That WAS a sweet post ~I do relate (and do have tears). It is hard to put into words for me. You said it well....

I love your new look too!