To say I love you and your family, as my own, is the understatement of the year. When I moved to Portland, I assumed it would take me months or years to find the kind of intimate friendships I had in Indiana. (and continue to have with those people) God was feeling gracious and I met you during my first week here. Truth to be told, it is so hard to be believe that I have known you just over a year. It seems like you have been making me tea, making me laugh, and agreeing to outlandish projects and adventures with me for at least a decade. If I haven’t publicly thanked you before, thank you.
When my baby was little, I was my most vulnerable. In and out of hospitals, up and down all night, and I swore the relationships I built would be the best in my life because they centered around those fragile moments. What I realize now is that each season of motherhood is riddled with fragility and dripping in opportunities to be vulnerable. Sending your last baby to kindergarten is one of those examples, and I’ve been thinking of you during this difficult transition. Your children are sweet angels, and while I can’t imagine how difficult today will be as you kiss your daughter’s sweet face (YOUR LAST BABY!) and send her to be cared for by another capable woman. For the last six years, you’ve been nurturing someone around the clock. While it will be nice to prep dinner in the silence of your home, you will miss the sounds of children asking you for milk throughout the day.
We both know the hours will whiz by once you’ve established your routine! Today as you mourn the passing of a season in your family’s life together, I hope you’re able to find solace in knowing you have poured so much into your children. They will walk confidently into their day, because of the love you give them day in and day out. The way you prioritize them, care for them, and teach them. They will likely come home and give you their worst, because you are their safest space. I’m also pretty sure, it feels like you’re losing a piece of your identity: an extension of yourself, out the door for seven hours. This season is certainly transitional, and it will be an experience in grace for you all!
I look forward to the adventures ahead alongside you as we ebb and flow through motherhood, doors opening and closing, winds changing, and life occurring. I look forward with a mixture of pride and anxiety to the days we will snap awkward prom photos, drop our kids off at neighboring universities, dance at their weddings, and shop for gifts for each other’s grand-babies. What this season is confirming for me is that the moments quickly become years and they are gone in a flash.
Next week, I will send my firstborn away to school for eight hours daily, five days a week. On one hand, I’m excited for him. I cannot wait to see what he learns and who he will meet! On the other hand, I’m praying I’ve done enough. We will soon both we inflicted with temporary empty nest syndrome and I hope we are able to find rest throughout our days knowing we have prepared their hearts. I also hope we are able to find Target, Starbucks, and the thrift store together.
Isaiah 40:11, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”