I think I’ve decided that having children can be very painful. And no, I’m not talking about the act of giving birth (though I readily acknowledge that is a painful experience). I’m talking about the sorrow that accompanies letting them go. I realize that there is much joy to be had as well, but right now I’m writing about the sad part, so let me have my moment.
Right now, at the very moment these words are being written, our eldest son Ronald Neal Childs III (aka: Trae) is in a jet plane (I assume it’s a jet) being taken from Niamey, Niger to Paris, France, with the final destination of Tulsa, OK, via Mpls, MN where he’ll spend a week visiting my family. He’s probably still over the Sahara Desert. How is possible that this cute little guy is already ready to travel alone, and internationally at that? Was this picture seriously taken in 1991? (Trae, I don’t mean to insult you. I realize you’ve been traveling alone for several years now…)
I know that this is the natural course of things. I understand that. It doesn’t’ mean I like it. It doesn’t mean I don’t like it either. For goodness sake he’s already finished a year of university – you think this would be easier. In fact on the way back from the airport tonight we were talking about how great it was to have Trae around and how sad we felt to see him leave and Tobi asked me if it would get easier. My answer at this moment? No.
The thing is, when we said goodbye in January, we made a plan as to when we would see Trae again – Which was less than 6 months away. So we began planning and counting days and anticipating his arrival. And arrive he did – at 3:30pm on June 22nd. Not his birth – his arrival in Niger! Here we are at the airport. And we are happy campers!
Again I ask…how is it possible for nearly 5 weeks to already have gone by? I’m beginning to believe the theories that time is speeding up. Of course if I think about all that was accomplished and all that we did in those 5 weeks, well, it seems like it should have been more.
And how can I be sad when I think about all the ways that God has blessed the young man that Trae has become? Why am I proud of him? Let me count the ways. He has made some pretty great choices and God has honored those choices. He was in the top 10% of freshman academically at Oral Roberts University. He has continued to develop his leadership gift and has been given several new opportunities this year to use it. He found a lovely girl (and yes, Christi, I seriously did just describe you as lovely. You are lovely from the inside out). He listens to and heeds advice. He loves his family. He’s a great preacher. He chose to spend his entire summer in ministry (which is actually one of the reasons he came to Niger after spending 6 weeks in Brazil & Paraguay). He’s good looking. He loves God with all his heart, soul, and mind. Though I could go on, I’ll stop there in Trae’s honor, because it drives him crazy when I ramble…
So, how can I be sad? Who wouldn’t be sad when the above described person was with you, and then had to leave?
Here we are at the airport tonight, trying not to be sad, and not being very successful at it…
My writing has become therapeutic and I am beginning to understand that my sadness is pretty much selfish. It’s all about me. Oh I’m sure that Trae is sad on some level to leave his family. But how exciting to think about what lies ahead! So truly, instead of feeling sad, I should be rejoicing with him for all that God has stored up for his future as he continues to seek Him and His righteousness first.
So, what’s a mom to do? Rejoice because my firstborn has left the nest? This I will do, in faith, one step at a time. I will recognize that God has blessed me with not just 1, and not just 2, but with 3 incredible children. And that is something to celebrate. And I’ll begin believing, in the words of Tobi, ‘for this to get easier’. Because I have two more birds that will fly. And fly they will. Here’s proof.