Today, my first born turns 18.
Last Saturday, was her last piano recital ever. I remember when she swung her legs from the bench, barely able to keep up with her instructor.
Next Saturday is her senior prom. She will dress up and wear her highest heals to date.
Then, the following Friday she will give her salutatorian speech at her high school graduation.
The dorm move in date is set for August and all our lives will look different.
Recently, I was catching up with a friend I hadn’t seen since before the pandemic. I really admired how she intentionally engaged me in conversation. She asked me a couple of questions that I couldn’t answer with, “fine,” “nothing,” or “okay.” She leaned in and she listened. She made me think, and in doing so, challenged me in how I was thinking.
The first question wasn’t, ” How are you?”. Instead, she asked me, “What’s going on in your world?” I proceeded to tell her how Riley was graduating, preparing for college, and leaving the proverbial nest.
She started to ask me how I was feeling about all of it, but stopped herself. Instead, she asked me a question that has totally, positively transformed this whole season of life for me. She asked me, “What is the best thing about all of this?”
I stuttered and sputtered. I shut my mouth and sat there a second. Our youngest daughters continued to chase the soccer ball with their teammates. I leaned back and then began to slowly, but definitely feel the Holy Spirit begin to redirect my focus.
Instead of mourning the end of Riley’s childhood, I began to celebrate 18 years of God’s gracious goodness. Instead of feeling sorry for myself over the limited number of days she has to sleep under our roof, I began to thank God for over 18 years of answered prayers. Instead of being overwhelmed with 18 years of memories from her first steps to getting her drivers’ license, I began to praise God for the privilege of being blessed to be a part of each one.
Don’t get me wrong, I still choked up at her Senior Awards Ceremony today and full out cried when she gave me the best ever Mother’s Day gift on Sunday. I had all the feels finishing her baby scrapbook. But the sad moments are all tempered by the sweetness that this time has some of the best things to consider.
God has grown her and protected her. He has made her smart, really smart, but also kind, empathic and insightful. He saved her and secured her eternity with Him. He wrote all her days in His book before one of them came to be.
The days with her, especially when she was young, could be really, really long, but sitting next to her, here on the couch this evening, I am very aware that each of the years were in fact, incredibly short. Both the days and the years have been a gift from God.
The best thing about this season? It is a whole season that I can reflect and rejoice, remember and revel, and recall and recognize God’s faithful fingerprints all over her life and mine too.
This season isn’t about me. I will capture those thoughts that could bring me down. I didn’t take her tests or serve those hours or fulfill those responsibilities. Yes, I am proud of her, so proud – but I know that she is who she is and has accomplished what she’s accomplished by God’s grace alone.
This season isn’t really just about her either. She’s had fantastic teachers and mentors and friends. Her daddy and I definitely had roles to play in how everything has turned out, but God has been the one working all these things out for her good and His glory. He’s kept her healthy, cleared and focused her mind when needed, and helped her sort out tangled emotions and relationships too.
In my mind and heart, this season is all about Him. This is how I am not just coping, but thriving through all these endings and beginnings of her life and the changing seasons of mine. Now that I think about it, isn’t this the perspective we should all have in every season of our lives?
All this was fueled by one really thoughtful question. I don’t know what is going on right now in your life, but how can your perspective be changed by asking, “What is the best thing about it?”
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