When Joshua flew to Europe two weeks ago, I was completely unprepared for my reaction.
I was staggered by the notion that my youngest child was mature enough to embark on a trip to several foreign lands accompanied by a bunch of people I don't know. I suddenly realized that, in a few short years, my child-rearing days will be over. That realization threw me into a morbid depression that lasted through the first couple of days of my vacation.
Dave was empathetic and supportive, and he patiently endured several tearful outbursts from me. I've spent most of my adult life raising my sons and I've enjoyed it most of the time. Of course, they've disappointed me on odd occasions, and, unfortunately, I know they could say the same about me. Overall, though, I've been blessed with a wonderful family: a caring, gentle husband and two sons who overwhelmingly make me proud to be their Mom. I love being a mother and I'm going to miss my sons when the size of our household diminishes to three and then to two.
Having said all that, I also look forward to Jonathan and Joshua's continued growth and development.
Jonathan is preparing to enter a Salvation Army College for Officer's Training (probably in Atlanta) within a year or two. He is incredibly energetic, compassionate and creative, and he throws himself wholeheartedly into corps ministries. He reminds me very much of my father. When it's time for him to leave my home and establish his own life, ministry and family, even though I will miss having him around the house, I anticipate that he will accomplish great things for God and The Salvation Army. I will enjoy watching that, even though my role in those things will be peripheral.
Joshua wants to be a music teacher. In addition to being blessed with musical ability, he is level-headed and even-tempered. He will work well with students, parents and school administrators. Again, when it's time for him to go, I will miss having him around the house, but I will also enjoy watching him grow and playing whatever my small role will be in those events.
I've given much thought to these matters in the past two weeks, and I'm slowly accepting the fact that my role in the lives of my adult children will move from the center to the edges. It will be difficult giving up center stage, which is where I've been for well over twenty years now. The time is quickly coming when I will no longer be the leading lady for either of my sons. But I also know that it's often the supporting cast that actually makes or breaks the show. When the time comes to move from center-stage to stage-right or stage-left, I will continue to play my part with gusto, for it will be a priviIege to participate in the ongoing pageants of my sons' lives.