Children grow too fast.
It’s the cliché that’s been gasped by every adult ever to live.
I want to take the strand of my personal life and tie a bow with the strand of my professional life for this blog. Over the years as Kirabo Seeds developed I learned the hard way that I shared entirely too much personal information out in the world wide unknown. It seems harmless enough while writing honestly from the heart sitting cross-legged on my American sofa clicking on a laptop. It’s good self discovery and I practice it until I feel totally expressed and cleansed. Now I believe a diary should be still kept under lock and key. I’ve seen too much of the kind of people I don’t want to know about the insides of my heart. I realized how much I missed my privacy when too many people knew my every move. It was creepy. I pulled back and began to share primarily and exclusively information about Kirabo Seeds. That’s far more fascinating than my personal life anyway. Some days the most noteworthy thing I have to report is how well I cantered, how many times an offspring called “mom” through the house, how many hours I worked at my desk, and if I walked enough steps in the day. But this one is huge. I ought to share. Maybe I can help you prepare for when it happens to you. Maybe you will cry with me. Don’t laugh at me though. This one is tender.
Something monumental is happening in my mama life. My first born child is getting married in ten days. So we are clear: I adore Kelli. I don’t mind giving him to her at all. I am thrilled to add her to our family. I don’t mind stepping aside and watching him spread his wings and really fly.
I mind this marking the end of his childhood in our family. It makes me feel sad.
Last weekend Jack turned fourteen and we celebrated with the whole family together, including Kelli. It was so fun to have them all together, and while I enjoyed I also suffered because I could count the weekends that would pass before we could do this again. It is hard to get used to it. Kevin is entering his senior year wearing a beard. Ugh. Jordan has his own apartment mid way through his college years. I’ve mostly kept busy hoping I wouldn’t notice what’s happening. That worked well for me until Donny asked me to choose the song we shall dance to at the wedding. You google “most popular mother son songs for wedding dances”, listen to them, and get through it without crying the big ugly cry that leaves dry heaves for a few days.
I decided to put ten of them on my phone and listen to them every day until I don’t cry any more. This is how I plan to keep my dress tear-stain-free and my makeup in place for the wedding day. Cry early, cry a lot, and get it out of my system. The long term survival plan for this phase of life began four years ago when I welcomed a horse into my life. Then, I had a mini-attack last Thanksgiving and somehow convinced the family to welcome a chocolate English Labrador puppy into the family (The Fonz is now ten months old.) I have to admit it is rather comforting to have Fonzarelli adore me day and night while I come to terms with Donny’s departure into absolute adulthood. He’s snoring at my feet now while I write. If the keys stop clicking he opens an eye and if it catches mine, his tail will thump the floor in a tribal rhythm. He has indeed brought us all “Happy Days”.
I have all these four legged cushions so I won’t despair at the two legged ones moving on. Some may say, “ah Kira is only five, you’ll be fine.” But, to me, I close my eyes and I see Donny, five years old starting kindergarten, me pregnant with Kevin and Jordan playing with a plastic school bus in the road while little Donny climbs up the big steps of the yellow bus. He had the same nervous eye only mama can recognize, I see it now as he considers his career choices. It is a look Kelli will pick up and begin to take care of. She will know him better than I will, as she should. She will be his wife.
Kirabo Seeds is also part of my strategy to open my hands and let the two legged ones grow up and go. I am investing myself in enough outside good work so that I won’t be utterly alone when they have gone. I believe God has taken me in these directions so that I would continue giving all I have to give, but not smother the five at home. (I would if I could.) And there’s purpose in my life that won’t leave when the children do. I don’t mind being alone but I don’t want to be lonely, and a life without purposeful work is my definition of loneliness.
The children at Kirabo Seeds are also growing too fast. One more year and the group of older kids join the secondary school. O my goodness. We need to plan for helping them with their transition to adulthood. I need to make sure I am there at all of their weddings.
No matter what I do, how many four legged friends of comfort I bring home, or what great cause I throw myself into, I can’t escape the great divide that will be established as Donny takes a wife. I’m going to have to learn to be a considerate, loving, patient, self-controlled mother-in-law. This is only possible if I see it is the Spirit of God working in me to produce these qualities. I have to practice less of me and more of God in my every word. But, in truth sometimes all I’m going to want to say is “bring my son home!” I give up the right to demand this when they exchange vows. I refuse to be selfish. I refuse to make my problem become theirs.
See. Just the thought of them moving far away makes me all shaky, swelling with tears from the inside of my throat. I want this to be easy and comfortable. I’m like a panicky horse looking for the escape exit. I’m trapped by my own emotions. No where to go but to trust the one who leads me.
Remember the show “Everybody Loves Raymond?” Deborah’s mother-in-law moved in across the street. While I always identified with Deborah in that show and thought her thoughts to all the ridiculous interfering her mother-in-law did, now I’m starting to see the other side. I have the urge to remain close to my sons and will consider crazy thoughts to achieve this. So I must stop myself. I must go to the barn, fly to Uganda, or walk my dog. Now is the time to make good use of the strategies I have built in for dealing with the dreaded departure.
Let the children go. Let them become who they are meant to be without all my input. I must wait for my opinion to be asked. I must close my lips tightly and let them make big mistakes, or show me they were right and I was wrong. I must pray and pray and pray for God to remind me He loves my children more than I do. He also loves me and has a plan for this part of my life where children move out, move on, and make their own lives. I just never knew how bittersweet it would be.