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.
Update: Jess did go on to college and moved into the dorm. Her first semester was pretty rocky - a bad roommate match-up and homesickness almost did her in. I didn't think she was going to make it. Who am I kidding? I didn't think I was going to make it. But she is not a quitter. She stuck it out and we all crossed that bridge with her. And the other side has been really good! This week she is joyfully moving back into the dorm with her three best friends. She is a junior now and will graduate with her B.A. in Elementary Education next year. Ah. Where does all the time go?