Tuesday, September 13, 2016

When the Kids Leave Home

This summer I went on a road trip to take my youngest son, Matthew, to college.  I felt so excited for him and this new adventure in his life.  As each child leaves home my life changes too.  A new adventure begins for me and for everyone else who is still home.  It's strange but fascinating.  

I don't dread my kids growing up and leaving home like some mothers do.  I admire that kind of mother because she is conveying through those thoughts and feelings all the love she has for her children.  I do have the sad moments after they leave when I'm walking through the halls of our home and feeling the empty room symbolizing that a stage in life has passed and will never return.  I stay there for a time remembering and thinking about the past and the fact that it's over.  Tears come.  

But I can't dwell on the sorrow of separation.  There's no hope in that place.  I choose to look to God and his plan for me and for my child to help me resolve the conflict this separation presents me with.  I know this was all part of his plan so how should I think of it?  I ask him that question.  He tells me that just because my son is moving out of my home, doesn't mean he's moving out of my heart or my life.  We're both embarking on a new facet of our relationship.  A new opportunity to improve it, to deepen it.  I have found that to be true with the first two who have already flown the coop.  Once away from home the phone calls, texts, emails, and letters start.  And within this new way of communicating, I see my sons in a whole new light.  A beautiful light.  

Kids are free to make their own choices.  I listen to their stories when they call, how they are handling the challenges that come their way.  Do they follow what we have taught them or do they find a different way to accomplish their goals and resolve their conflicts?  Some ways may even be better.  I'm just so interested to see what they will do AND which of all the things their dad and I taught them are most valuable to them.  Those are the things they hang on to and use for themselves.  It's so fascinating. 

Listen:  "Were You There?" by Paul Cardall 

Transitions or changes like kids leaving home for the first time are few and far between for a mom.  Once you begin with a pregnancy, you're in that Desire Obtainment Process/Conflict Resolution Process for a very long time.  18 years at least.  There are smaller mile stones that are passed along the way, but the final goal in this journey is not achieved until they are able to take on the responsibility to care for themselves and then a spouse and family in Sustainable Joy, Charity, Love, Attraction; not hatred, sorrow, and dragging through life just to get through.  

At least that's been my goal.  I've wanted to train them to stay within the Threshold of Adversity.  My prayers of late have used that exact terminology.  I don't pray for just their happiness and safety because I want them to have the challenges they need to learn and grow.  I don't want them to be perfectly safe.  That wouldn't challenge them.  It would bore them to tears and make them miserable.  But I don't want the challenges to overcome them either.  I don't want the storms and hot sun to beat down on them so they digress as opposed to progress.  So I pray that God will keep them within his Threshold of Adversity.  Keep them within his arms of Mercy.  In other blogs I have described that as a Forcefield or the Safe Place.  

"That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." ~Matthew 5:45

The only way I know to accomplish that goal is to teach them about Jesus Christ and how his Atonement works on a hands-on, day-to-day basis.  Teach them about the Living God.  Christ and his Mercy are operable within the Threshold. When we are allegiant to him the best we know how we are protected within his Forcefield.  We are in his Safe Place.  And the cool thing about it is that there are plenty of challenges within this Threshold.  We're not bored to death in there.  This is the Zone.  We are energized, exhilarated, comforted, and protected there.  We are sustainable. 

"O ye people of these great cities… how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you. ~3 Nephi 10:4