If you have been within a 10 mile radius of me over the past three months you will know the anxiety, stress, excitement, etc. I have had about the day our first-born daughter turns sixteen. To say the least it has been quite the emotional roller coaster in the Turner house and God bless my sweet husband for attempting to keep me sane and constantly reminding me that it is all going to be OK. I’m just not ready for this. It’s all happening way to fast and I only see things accelerating. In 2.5 years she’ll be in college. I was just in college wasn’t I?
So, with all of this stress and anxiety of the babies growing up I’ve turned to God…a lot. The down on my knees begging for help turning to God. I have always felt pretty comfortable in my faith, however I still struggle with trying to handle everything myself as opposed to turning to God. The whole “Jesus Take the Wheel” concept and I don’t always see eye to eye unfortunately. I have definitely found myself on somewhat of a different path lately, clinging to a variety of daily devotional books, my Bible, and Book of Common Prayer (BCP for you fellow Episcopalians) like they are security blankets. Each day hoping the devotional/prayer will bring me some golden nugget of how to survive this ride. There have been days where I even bring my “security blankets” to work just to sit in a chair in my office. Spiritual osmosis you might say.
The day after our little girl passed her driving test she was to take her and her sister to school 20+ miles away from home. You see, the driving has been the worst. I can handle dating, eye rolling, and even the talk of what colleges she wants to look at… but the driving-no, I was not going to go willingly into this one. But here I was looking at it head on without even my first cup of coffee and there was nothing I could do about it. Except the following…
There I was in my flannel Santa lounge pants (in October because they are just that well-worn), my faded “living on island time” t-shirt (which is ironic in itself because to know me, you know that I’m never laid back enough to be on “island time”), and my big fluffy “mom robe” in the driveway. I circled the car and then I went and laid hands on it as if I was an ordained priest. I prayed to God to keep my oldest baby and my second oldest baby safe and to please just carry that car in His hands all the way to school. Then I asked Lula (the car) to please take care of my babies. I know He heard me and I hope she did. I went back in, it was almost time for them to go.
“Go get your dad up and tell him you are leaving,” I said.
I think at this point I may go throw up but I keep it together. She is so excited and so happy. She has reached a new milestone and as much as I want her to turn and beg me to just keep being her chauffeur I know that this will not happened. It is the first of many moments as a mom where I will have to stand still, keep my mouth shut and watch her move a little further away from needing me. If you haven’t had one of these moments yet I’m not going to lie, it really bites and yet it’s amazing all at the same time. It’s all very confusing. A friend reminded me the other day that we are raising them to leave us. (Like a knife to the heart-ugh.) As much as this mom doesn’t want to believe that at this particular moment on the “mom journey”-my friend is right. Driving is one of the many steps in this direction.
She grabs her keys with her black fuzz ball key chain and they head out the door. We both hugged them longer than usual before they get in the car, the driver and her co-pilot. “Put your seat belts on, do not even think about touching your phone, please watch out for other the other cars on the road, and please pray before you leave, ” I plead and they comply. They pull out of the driveway and it’s still a little dark outside. We watched the headlights fade into the trees and I am crying- the not able to catch your breath crying. How will I do this every morning?
It’s been over a week now and each day is a little easier. We are all easing into this new phase in life. In general, with raising kids, every day brings new big ideas and new questions needing answers (some easier to answer than others). I’m learning that having control over every aspect of my life and theirs is clearly impossible. This is the hardest lesson of all, but I get it God. I understand now what You have been trying to tell me all along. Maybe my friend was more right than I thought. I’ve been given these three gifts and it’s my job to love them, care for them, and eventually send them out into the world to do good things. We are raising them to leave us. When you are in the throes of raising kids whether they are babies up with night feedings, hauling toddlers to play groups, or running them to and from various activities – time seems to move so slow it’s almost going backwards. You get tired, you might start complaining, and you think this phase will never end. Then one day it does end and you are on to the next phase. It happens so fast at first you may not have even noticed. So now as part of the daily devotional/search for golden nugget I am asking God not only to keep my daughter safe in this new phase of taking on the roads, but to help me appreciate every day-even the hard ones when I’m crying in the driveway.