So many changes... Moving... More goodbyes... New place... New school... New (to some of us) language... New pets... Six living at home instead of eight...
Although, I must say - not much has actually surprised me. This year has been hard where I expected it to be hard, exciting where I expected it to be exciting, edifying where I expected it to be edifying. Been nice to have a year where I've felt like God prepared me in advance and nothing really caught me off guard. (I certainly don't expect it to always be like that.)
But I'm thankful. I've needed an a year where expectations and realities pretty well lined up.
Well, except for this one thing.
Having my big ones off and far away has been a lot different than I expected. I miss them. Something awful. I think about them everyday, often throughout the day. I pray for them more than I ever dreamed possible to remember to pray for anyone. But I'm also loving this season.
We are learning to communicate in a new way, over distances, and to work through challenges with our kids - now as young adults. They have freedom to make decisions that we don't necessarily like or that we feel are unwise. They procrastinate... and have to figure out their own way out of any resulting problems. They learn to relate to other family members and their communities without any buffer of Daddy and Mama. They are adventurers and life explorers on a great adventure and I get a front row seat as they discover their futures and God's plans for their lives. From where I sit? Best show ever! It is exciting and fun and a privilege to play a much smaller than before part.
I love hearing about something taking place in my girl's life via one of her sisters and Snapchat. It is fun to see pictures on Facebook of my big ones and the life they are living... even when I'm not a daily part of that life.
Yes, I miss them.
But I wouldn't change a thing.
This is as it should be, and I'm not going to bemoan the physical distance separating and exponentially limited time together. I've prayed almost all of their lives that these breathtaking (Yes! They do take my breath away on an almost daily basis for both good and bad reasons - I'm totally and 100% biased!) young people would be tools of God, used by Him to impact whatever "world" He gives them in which to live. I still pray that...
And then there's this. With the big two not such a physical presence in our daily lives, the next two have had opportunities to shine unfiltered. And it has been fun! I think that sometimes, and probably unintentionally, older siblings tend to shadow over their younger ones. When those older ones move on and into these different life stages, it gives us, as parents, an opportunity to see the next ones in line in a totally different light.
And I'm finding them hilarious, fascinating, challenging, sometimes annoying, always entertaining and just downright fun to be with.
As parents, we blink and they become.
But this parent doesn't have time to spend missing the past and or the desire to long for those wonderful years of "ago" and littles and all my "ducklings" under wing, in a row.
I'll say it again: the right here and right now is just too wonderful - be it in person or via Skype!