As I type this blog post, the tears are pouring out. I could not stop them if I tried. Man, these days are tough. I am not sure how we got here so very quickly. It truly seems like just yesterday, we brought home this beautiful like girl decked out in pink from head to toe, head bands and all. I knew this little girl had captured my heart before I even held her in my arms. Seventeen years later, our family is preparing to have the “best Summer ever” before our girl goes to college in the Fall of 2023.
I remember choosing “Butterfly Kisses” to walk down the aisle to when I got married. I chose this song to honor my parents and grandparents for all their love, support and memories during my childhood. I can still remember rubbing noses in butterfly kisses when I was a little girl. My sister was a bridesmaid and walked down the aisle when he talks about the young girl being sixteen- absolutely perfect timing. I can remember my dad getting choked up before we headed down the aisle when they talk about losing his little girl. I feel that now more than ever before.
Letting go is hard. Allowing our children whom we have nurtured from the moment two pink lines appeared is excruciating and exciting all at the time. Since Kinsley has completed her Junior year and will be a Senior next year, I have been through all the emotions. There is no manual for this. I mean I have had seventeen years to be preparing for this next step in life but man, it is tough. It is hard on our hearts. We want to be excited for our children while it feels like our hearts are breaking at the same time.
As parents, Keith and I have spent a large part of our life working to build a strong foundation for our kids. We have to make a diligent effort to press into Jesus to guide our parenting. It is a time to not lean on my own understanding but to fully allow Jesus to captain this adventure. Without faith, I am not sure how I would survive the teen years.
Both Keith and I are seeking Jesus and His sweet grace as we enter the journey of watching our daughter spread her wings. There is a sense of a heaviness in letting our kids fly but there is also this sweet glimpse of grace and freedom. As a mom, I feel caught in the middle between holding on for dear life, learning to let go and relishing this next adventure into adulthood. It is bittersweet. It is exciting and heartbreaking all at the same time. I have been a little naïve and somehow thought I could keep her forever, but God has something pretty amazing in store for our kids. They will go do great things and as parents, we get a front row seat.
My family is a part of an amazing church family. Without a doubt my children will be grateful for a House of God that helped mold them into a young woman and two young men who are chasing Jesus. The simple act of genuine love and doing life together has created a unique and inviting culture that has helped train up our youth. There is something incredibly special going on in our church on a dead-end road. It all starts with living and doing life as a village of believers. Doing life together means you are there for the good and the bad. The community that makes up the church has been integral to the upbringing of not only my kids but the youth in our small community.
“Start up a child off in the way they should go, and even when they are older, they will not leave it.” Proverbs 22:6 NIV.
When people tell you that time is a thief, that is high on the scale of understated truths. Time will creep up on you. One minute she is in all pink and piggy tails and the next she does not like pink and is wearing actual make up not anything that has the latest Disney movie characters on it. Brace yourself. Soak up all the moments. Yes, all the moments, good, bad and ugly all alike. One day they will all be a memory.
Here some advice from one mama in the trenches. Run to Jesus. If you need to increase your quiet time with Jesus- figure that out early, like before you have yourself a little tantrum and decide you are “done with the Holidays because Satan is stealing your time.” True story, sad, but true. Soak up every moment. Grab a notebook and send your kid a note- daily, weekly, whatever works. This allows you both to share your heart and allows an opening for discussion. Do not question everything you have done as a parent. We have all fallen short. Dust yourself of and keep moving forward. Take the trips, make the memories. Continue to teach them to stay focused on Jesus. Teach them to always serve others. Learn from failure. Know that people will fail you. They are not Jesus. Jesus will never fail you.
To my dear sweet Kinsley, May you always dream big. May you always grow in your relationship with Jesus. May you know that it took a village to get you where you are today and one day you will find your own village but remember where your roots have been planted. No matter what life throws your way, I pray that you keep your focus on Jesus. You have been a joy from day one. You stole my whole heart the moment I saw two pink lines. You caused me to cry like a baby the first time I heard your sweet little heart beat. I love how God knew how desperately my family needed you when my grandma JoAnn passed away. You would have stolen her heart and your Grandpa Bill’s as well. You are funny. You are the absolute best and worst of your dad and I. Your brothers think you are pretty dope until you are meh. You have a heart of gold and a zest for life. Some people think you may be too much. I thank Jesus he created you just the way you are too much and all. In fact, I kind of miss your Helga impersonations. I know that you are going to make an impact on this world. You, sweet little you, led me to Jesus. From a a young age, you had a heart for God. I cannot even begin to thank you! I can remember standing at your doorway and listening to your sweet little voice being lifted up to the Lord in prayer. Gosh, what did we do to deserve you? Your dad and I are grateful for our front row seat in your next chapter, just be easy on us as you go write it.