Gratitude, Positive Thinking, Reframing · Home and Family · Life Lately · Perspective

Graduations, Grief, and Gratefulness

Alex had his preschool graduation today. I swear, Natalie just had hers but in reality that was 6 years ago. Some of those years since her preschool graduation were really hard years financially and that kind of made everything else feel hard sometimes, but now, it all just seems like a blur. When did all of this happen? I’m almost sure I’ve missed some things along the way – some parenting things. You just think childhood is this long ongoing event, but it’s not. It’s this tiny fraction of time in the scheme of things. It’s just consuming as a parent. You can’t hit every mark. You can’t always be “on”. You have to find some balance – to invest in yourself, your marriage, your children in some almost equal way.

So Thursday, Natalie will graduate elementary school. It is so hard to grasp the idea that her childhood is morphing into something else…you just always think that you have more time. You think you have enough time, but I don’t think you ever have enough time. I take a sliver of comfort in thinking that elementary school used to go up to 6th grade so she’s kind of still a elementary schooler, right?

I just keep thinking – did I enjoy it enough? Was I present enough? Have I done enough? Been enough? Given enough?

My inadequacies are glaring the deeper I dig. I can see the mistakes I’ve made. I want years back. I want to get it right this time.

But I know there’s still so much opportunity before me. I’ve been praying lately – from that good desperate place “Help me, Lord, fill my children’s lives and hearts, work in me, through me, with me”. Ultimately I have to surrender them and find peace in that. They are precious, they are a part of me, but all of it – me, them, the past, the present, the future – the best I can do is trust divine love with it.

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I will always fail and fall short. In my own strength I will always struggle. But there is freedom in faith, peace in release, joy and comfort and redemption in letting the Spirit do the work while I rest in the promises.

The juncture in time is bringing to the surface so many emotions, so many feelings, grief but also joy and hope. There is still so much before us. I don’t want to let circumstances and noise from the world around me steal any more moments of my life away. I can’t prevent myself from feeling grief in the future, but I can refocus, realign, and grow. I don’t have to repeat old patterns. We are made new all the time, mercies are fresh each morning. I’m so grateful for that.

Maybe motherhood has a learning curve. Maybe everything does. I want to celebrate my children’s milestone moments believing that where I have fallen short and/or totally screwed it all up, there is grace and there is something bigger than me at work here. I can let the welled up tears fall knowing that all things can be worked for good. All things can be redeemed.

I’m so grateful for my life with my children so far. We’ve had a good good village of family and friends and neighbors and church family and sports family and girl scout family and general community. We have had so much fun. We have also had the privilege of a lot of ordinary days. When you really think about it, in the bigger picture – ordinary days are almost some kind of magic. There is holy ground everywhere. I don’t always see it, but I think the more I look for it, the more I find it.

I’m looking forward to new things and I don’t want to stay too wrapped up in former things, but I do want to wade through the warmth of what has been because there is much warmth there. We can carry with us what we want, what we choose. So maybe I just want to spend a little time gathering every once in a while, drinking in the sweetness, grateful.

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