I always get so sad when my kids start school after summer vacation. For years some friends and I have met for coffee and to weep over the passage of time.
It’s not like I’m not excited for them and their new teachers and seeing their friends again. It is not even that I don’t appreciate having more time for myself, it is that I just hate to see them grow up. It is going too fast. I wish I could make time stand still.
I suppose most parents wish this at various moments in their children’s lives. It seems we just get good at one stage and they are on to the next. When my teenager snaps at me, I miss the 5 year old who looked at me adoringly. But when I can talk about some really interesting stuff with my teen, I don’t miss changing diapers or trying to figure out how to deal with tantrums.
Several years ago, a mom I really respect [who had grown children] told me that she worked really hard to cherish every stage. I have tried to do that, but it doesn’t change the fact that the stages are flying by way too quickly.
I wonder what it is like for our father in heaven to watch the generations pass before him. Does he miss when Peter and Paul were on the earth? Does he miss Martin Luther? Some of the saints like Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King, Jr? I know they are with him in heaven now, but I wonder if God ever weeps when he sees how quickly the world changes.
I think the end of the summer always makes me panic a bit because I worry about whether we went to the lake enough or on enough camping trips or whether we ate on our deck enough. And truthfully the answer is almost always no. There are things we didn’t get a chance to do and when the kids once again put on their backpacks and we brace for nights of homework and sports, it makes me want to cry.
So what I find myself praying for is contentment. God, can you help me to enjoy what IS? So often as a parent, I’m always trying to be two steps ahead of the game–making sure we have school supplies and such. But I really believe the gift God gives us is that he forgives our past, protects our futures in him, and this then frees us to live in the present–in what IS, right here and right now.
So I’m going to try and enjoy hearing about not being able to figure out how to open a locker, or getting a teacher who loves art, or not really wanting to go back to school because it is just so boring….Because those are the things that are happening in our lives right now.
God who is beyond time has the rest under control. May we all be secure in that knowledge, so we can be content right now.