We All Need a Family
A few weeks ago, we helped move our son from the familiar setting of his college apartment and roommates in a much smaller city to his first “bachelor pad” in a very large city. If you’ve read any of my blogs prior to this one, you have probably figured out that I am a natural worrier, uncertainty terrifies me, and I adore my children. So, it will probably come as no surprise that I have had some feelings about this over the past couple of months. And this weekend he celebrated his 23rd birthday and I wasn't with him. Cue the tears.
When he first shared his dream of moving (only six weeks prior to the actual move, so in my defense, it wasn’t like I had a lot of time to let this sink in), I went in to the “there’s no way” mode. He told us that he had made contact with a highly respected leader in his company and that there was interest in him coming, but that he would need to be ready to go to work in the new office right after the first of the year. This would mean trying to get out his current lease, finding an apartment he could afford in one of the highest cost of living areas in the country and then actually moving five hours away from us immediately after Christmas. Everything about my “play it safe”, “always plan” personality went into red alert mode. Thank goodness my son did not inherit that trait from me or from his father. He enjoys taking some risks and he somehow made it all happen. My faith has been strengthened exponentially watching him be incredibly brave and trusting God so easily. It’s tough sometimes to learn lessons from our kids, but they have a lot to teach us.
Once we got past the initial shock of how quickly this would all turn around, the actual moving and getting him set up part was fun. As many mothers do, I love nothing more than having all of us together under one roof at the same time because that is something that becomes more and more rare the older the kids get. So, being in a new city, picking out things to help make his new home more “homey” and sharing a mini family vacation was special. The hard part was when I realized we weren’t all staying there with him in the comfort of his new place, but rather this was something he was going to be doing alone….very much alone….since he knew virtually no one there. But again, he’s not a worrier, and honestly, there is so much potential for fun, adventure, and new relationships where he’s landed that when I’m not worried he’s lonely, I’m almost envious of what God has in store for him there. It’s an exciting time for sure.
After he settled for a few weeks, we made a trip to visit and to take him a couple of things from home that he had left behind. Again, his sister joined us for the weekend, so I was in my happy place having us all together. Being that his apartment is a one bedroom, he generously gave his dad and I his bed (or maybe we just took it…haha) and he and his sister slept on the quite comfy sectional sofa we had helped pick out on our first trip there. My heart was so full as I fell asleep hearing the two of them talking and laughing together, sharing things I’m sure we as the parents never will or may never want to hear about. They are less than two years apart in age and could not be any more different, so, as is often the case with siblings, their relationship over the years hasn’t always been sunshine and roses. They can bicker and argue to the point I want to lose my mind, raise the white flag and scream for a truce. It is only in recent years, as they are getting older, I am beginning to see their relationship growing and them enjoying being together more often.
As much as my heart was touched by their laughter the night before, the moment I keep replaying in my head came the next morning as I quietly tip toed to the kitchen to make some coffee before they woke up. I stood and let the tears fall (they are literally falling again as I write about it) when I saw them sleeping so peacefully, end to end, on the same couch and I played back memories of them being super little and falling asleep together watching movies on our couch or on car rides to their grandmother’s house or after long hard days of playing outside. There was just something so sweet and so special in that moment and it took my breath for a second. Maybe it was the emotion of still learning to let them go and grow up, but I think it was more that I prayed for them to always have each other to lean on. I love when he takes on the big brother role and is protective of her (even though she doesn’t always love it) or when she helps give him the female perspective of a situation and encourages him to just be more kind (although he doesn’t always love it). They are so very different in so many ways beyond just their gender and can learn so much from each other. As their mom, I simply want them to love each other well and in that moment, everything felt just perfect for me.
I wonder if God looks down on us as His children like that sometimes? I wonder if when we bicker about things that are so trivial and unimportant if He just wants to scream at us to just love each other well? I wonder if He wants us to see how much we can learn from each other in our differences and how it’s our differences that make us better together? I wonder if He smiles with joy when we have tender moments and He sees our relationships getting better or reconciled?
In Genesis, scripture tells us that it was not good for man to be alone, so he created woman. Then he told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. The reality is that God created family and relationships on purpose. But just like the first family of Adam and Eve and many families of future generations throughout the Bible, family can be complicated. Maybe the situation that has torn your family apart is trivial and it’s time to try to extend the olive branch and reconcile, or maybe you’ve done what you can and things aren’t any better. Maybe your family situation is terribly unhealthy and you have no choice but to pull away. I am very aware that family is not easy and I know there are so many circumstances that can tear families apart. I also know there are lots of relationships that aren’t biological, but are nonetheless “family” and I am so grateful for those too. Maybe your “family” doesn’t share your DNA. I pray you still have one....because we all need one. We are created to do life together and not alone.
I believe way too often I am prone to give God human characteristics that may or may not be Biblical, but I do know that He sent his only son to the earth to be fully human and to show us as humans how to love well, so I tend to think that when we do show love to one another, there is happiness in Heaven, just as I as a mother experience happiness when my children love each other well. I want to make my Heavenly Father happy as often as I can.
I am fully aware in recent days that I don’t have little kids anymore and the dynamic of our family is changing at a rapid pace. I’m getting more and more okay with that. Our kids are doing exactly what they are supposed to do by growing up, pulling away and starting their own lives, but it won’t stop me from trying to savor every single moment I can when I have a glimpse of “how it used to be”. I feel very blessed and look forward to many blessings to come.
Oh and PS….guess who made a road trip to be there with her brother on his birthday. Be still my momma’s heart!