Dear Class of 2021 Mama,
I see you. You’re not alone. Tuck this note away and revisit it as often as you need.
In just a few short days, I will turn the last page in one of my favorite books, and I’ve realized some things can’t be learned without experiencing them firsthand. Remember when you were about to embark on the book of parenthood, and people who’d gotten further along in the storyline said, “It’s the hardest thing you’ll do, but it’s worth it” or “They grow up so fast” or “Don’t blink.” Yet the truth was that some of those newborn crying fits between 4 and 6 PM when you were sitting at the dining table trying to “BabyWise” your firstborn, you wanted to blink. The temper tantrums in the stores, the harsh words, the boo-boos, sometimes you wished they’d move a little faster. But nothing prepares you for this moment of launching, except being at this moment. And it’s hard to turn the last page in a beautiful book without knowing what the sequel has in store.
This is why we must trust the Author.
In the end, that’s what it comes down to, right? We must trust that the next story is just as good. We must trust that they’ll be all right even when we aren’t there to keep watch. As I surveyed my baby girl paddleboarding in the ocean, further than I was comfortable chasing dolphins, I realized (as I often do) that I’m not in control.
In the end, that’s what it comes down to, right? We want control. We got this, God. We know what they need. They’re better in our hands where we can keep them safe. But, what if I told you, you were never really in control?
Remember the moment the nurse put your baby on your chest, and you felt that heartbeat against yours, that breath filling the space between you? Remember the little grunts or lack thereof that would make you jump in the middle of the night to sneak a peek to be sure they were okay? Remember when you dropped your baby off at preschool and wondered how they’d ever be able to navigate those big steps without tripping over the oversized backpack straps or making it a full three hours without you? Remember when you handed the keys over for the first time and watched them drive away from the house, hitting refresh on the “Find My iPhone” app until they made it to school? That was all Him.
He’s been in control all along. He’s proven he’s trustworthy. You can let go. I know it’s hard. It’s gut-wrenchingly hard to let go. It’s a grieving process over the greatest book you’ve ever read. It’s okay to feel all the emotions that go along with this season, so feel them. This last year will be a roller coaster of juxtaposed feelings, so here are a few thoughts from someone who’s about to turn the last page of her favorite book (thus far):
- Get up early or stay up late and talk to God. Work it all out with Him. Reminisce about the good, the bad, the ugly, the regrets, the wishes, the praises. (Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8)
- Reinvest in your marriage. If you’ve been putting hubby on the backburner for a while, it’s time to rekindle the romance. You will need him, and he will need you. The best advice I can give is to date your husband. (Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12)
- Find a friend who’s moved on to the sequel and can give you spoilers. Hearing that the next book has all these epic moments ahead will be the salve for your tender soul. (Therefore encourage one another and build up one another. 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
- Make a bucket list. Favorite dinners, movies, games, meals, whatever it is that will help you close this chapter, write it down and prioritize. Everyone in the family gets to contribute, and everyone has open hands. It may not all get done, but the most sentimental stuff will. (There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1)
- Go through old pictures, reflect, and have a good cry. Make a scrapbook, a video, whatever you need. Don’t dwell on the challenging moments of the past. Focus on the beautiful memories. Give thanks. ( I thank my God every time I remember you. Philippians 1:3)
- Get excited. You’re still mom, and they need you. They’re scared too. This is your time to do what you do best! Send the encouraging text, talk up the next phase of adulthood, be part of the planning. After all, you’ve read this story before. You know where they’re headed, and you know it’s such a good read, right? (She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25)
- Give it to God. Relinquish the control you thought you had and that you’ve already learned to turn over moment by moment, day in and day out, milestone after milestone. (Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-7)
If you haven’t read, “Start with Amen” by Beth Guckenberger, now is the time. Her story about looking up into the night sky to see a sliver of the moon is worth remembering:
I’m praying for you. This year, this chapter, took me by surprise, even with all the warnings. I had to experience it for myself, and you will too. But, we can look to our sisters further along for encouragement, and we can fully trust the Author has an amazing page-turner waiting just for us.
Class of 2020 Mama
Written by Kristy Kaliope
Kristy is an NC State graduate and has called Fellowship Greenville her church home since 2010. She is married to Jason and has two children, Georgia & Benjamin. She loves running, hiking, and spending time with her family. Her professional experience includes photography and she enjoys blogging, which flows from her passion for authentic communication.