CHANGE is here. Boy is it ever!
Change, sometimes the unwelcome visitor, turns our world upside down and hurls us out of our comfort zone.
Change, even when it is invited, still shakes us up and causes stress.
Our family has been anticipating and is now going through significant changes. The greatest, most impactful change has been having our one and only child, a daughter, whom we were never supposed to have in the first place, move out of our house and into her college dorm room.
Boom! Empty Nest
This may not seem like a big deal to some of you but, when you have one child, you go from a busy household to an empty nest in one swift move. No dipping your toes in the water. You just get fully dunked, hair and all.
What has made her leaving even more potent is, well…even being a teenager and all…she still likes us! She has enjoyed our company and hanging out with us. This has been a delightful, 19-year surprise!
As a result, occasionally we introduce ourselves as the “3 J’s.”
We have shared a lot of common interests and inspired each other to try out new hobbies: Tae Kwan Do, Archery, bike riding, rock climbing, puppetry, music, leading worship, performing together and writing.
It has been these moments of adventures together that I will always hold dear.
Joel and I have been so blessed by such a great daughter…and now it is that time, that season of change. We have to let her fly and be J1 – out on her own. We’ve returned to the original J2.
For the Byrds
Cue up the Byrds, The Times They Are A Changing. Change for Jessica has meant adapting to new surroundings, being with people all the time, having a roommate, being in charge of getting allergen-free food, purchasing college books, and keeping on top of her own schedule. Her life is stuffed with newness.
For us change has meant a much quieter home with zero daily drop-off and pickup routines, less frequent conversations about Sherlock Holmes, superheroes, never ending story ideas, crazy movie, and TV quotes. And of course, the joyous updates on the latest dreadful calculus assignment. It’s meant her room is empty, no more songs floating down the stairwell during her shower, no longer being her ever present listening ear as she problem solves her situations. Now we just hear about some of what has happened, usually via text, with an occasional current situation to discuss. For us, our life has a void in it.
It’s different, unfamiliar, and uncomfortable. And it is exactly what we raised her to be able to do. This is the way it is supposed to be. We couldn’t be prouder of our daughter and who she has become. We want her to continue growing into the person she is meant to be.
Parenting is Not For The Weak
Cue up the Byrds “Turn, Turn, Turn.” So are you on your own journey as a parent?
If so, where are you in your journey?
No matter what stage you are in on your parenting journey, it will not last forever. You may be up to your eyeballs in diapers, or drowning in homework, but it won’t last forever. Trust me, it may seem like it now, but it won’t. Things will change.
Truth be told, there is no rewind button in the parenting world. You don’t get to do a day, a year, or a stage over again. Change comes.
However, there is always tomorrow.
No matter what your history has been with your kids, it is never too late to connect with them. No matter how old they are, deep down inside they long to know that you love them, enjoy their company, and that you are proud of who they are.
You can communicate that best by spending time with them.
One of the greatest ways to connect with your kids is through play. What do they like to do? What have they verbalized that they would like you to try? What fun things have they not tried yet that you like to do? Or What would you like to try with them?
There are so many neat ways you can connect with your child. It doesn’t even have to take that much time. An ice cream date alone with mom, a daddy-daughter date at the zoo, coffee dates, trying out new hobbies or sports. Take advantage of your time in the car together.
Feel like you have missed some opportunities along the way? That’s okay. Decide to change things up.
Make memories today that you both can enjoy forever.
What are some of your favorite memories you have with your child so far? What are some significant activities or ideas you would like to share with other parents?
Share your thoughts. We’ll be glad you did!