Yesterday, I sat in a lawn chair on a sunny fall afternoon near the banks of the Grand River and watched our 15 year-old son Mitch play a double-header with his fall travel baseball team.
Our whole family was able to attend since Kenna is home from North Carolina for a month. Of course, with her new acclamation to the southern climate, she said she was “freezing” and wrapped herself tight in two blankets.
The rest of us had on light fall jackets.
It was in the upper 50′s. She was still “f-f-f-freezing!” (Paybacks perhaps for all of the times she sent a picture to me in mid-winter of her car’s thermometer reading 80 degrees when our wind-chill was below zero!)
Grandma Ehman and my hubby’s sister Thais were there too. We had an impromptu get together since they are about an hour from the ball diamond. Needless to say, Mitch had an entire cheering section and, well, we Ehmans like to cheer loudly!
While we were hootin’ and hollerin’ and carrying on, a young couple walked by with a son no more than two years old. As I viewed him from the side with his little brown jacket and thick, strawberry blond hair, I had to catch my breath! He looked nearly the same way my now-sophomore son did back in the fall of 1996.
That fall was when Mitch first began to show his talent for and love of baseball, turning everything he could into a “ball”.
“Mom! Mom! Catch ball!”, he’d say as he picked up an orange, a potato or even a Christmas bulb (yikes!) and chucked it to me.
Others got a chuckle out of his antics and commented how cute it was.
I, as a former high school and college sports reporter and total baseball lover, secretly smiled over the fact that he not only could throw it far and accurately, but he always did it with his left hand! (I won’t bore you with the reason why left-handed ball players, especially pitchers, are at a great advantage. However, if your curiosity gets the best of you, click here to see why.)
As I sat there watching that toddler run around in the fallen leaves, my heart took a trip back in time.
Sure, sometimes I miss having babies and toddlers around, but for the most part, I am thankful for wise advice I got when they were little.
“Enjoy every stage and drink it in” one mentor said. “Don’t lament that your babies are growing up and getting older. Be excited with them for all of the new experiences they are having and things they are learning.”
I’ve seen this with our daughter.
So many moms have patted me on the back with a “How are you doing?” since she moved to NC right after graduation from high school last year. Now, while I miss hanging out with her and would certainly love to spend more time with her, I feel I cannot be selfish.
She LOVES her life in the south. Adores her “girls” (the kids of the family she nannies for) and her other jobs too (she has a total of three!) She is connected at her church discipling a few junior high girls and is well connected with several ministries for college-aged adults.
She LOVES her life and feels dead-center in God’s will.
Why then would I want her home in her pink bedroom, just to make ME happy?
I am thankful for the advice to hold my children–even though I love them to pieces–loosely in my hands.
A clenched fist is hard, and sometimes painful, to open.
So moms, go love on and enjoy your kids today. Drink in deep every exhaustingly wonderful moment you have with them.
They belong to God, not you.
While raising kids is to be our most important ministry, remember– we are empowering them to go live a life independent of us and dependent only on God.
Then, when they launch, you can be properly positioned where you should be:
On the sidelines, sipping hot cider and cheering like crazy!