Thursday, July 07, 2022

Our Training Wheel Summer

Twelve years ago we made the decision to "redshirt" our children by having them repeat Kindergarten as they changed schools. We did this for many reasons including their prematurity, early Summer birthdays, mixed genders, small stature, and our general observation that while we knew a handful of people who wished they had given their children the gift of an extra year at home, we didn't know any who regretted doing so.

This Spring, as similarly-aged students were preparing for high school graduation, I found myself full of gratitude that we had another year. I felt strongly this Summer was going to be instrumental in giving our freshly minted 18-year-olds opportunities to experience independence, maturity, and space.  

Kate & Ryland were hired as counselors at the camps in Mentone, Alabama & Black Mountain, North Carolina where they spent their childhood Summers. Parker decided to serve on the Work Crew (doing outdoor maintenance and sound tech) at a Young Life camp in Brevard, North Carolina. By the end of July, all should return with 5-8 weeks of out-of-the-nest experience under their belts.

Meanwhile, my husband and I have been practicing a new normal herein the nest--where we eat smaller meals in a quieter house with much less frenzied schedules. We have been referring to this time as our "training wheel Summer." 

As my people start returning in the next two weeks, I want to be intentional about honoring all we have learned. I am praying about exactly what that looks like, but I am convinced the first two steps are being mindful about it and putting it down on paper. 

I have been making lists of things we need to cover when they return...from college applications to high school Summer work and haircuts and sports practices in between. I am hoping to have a couple of individual meetings with each one to debrief when they return and reinstate weekly family meetings as the Fall begins. 

But I am posting this as a pause to honor the gift of this victory the training wheels are loosened and we remain a soft place to land. I hope we can start to deliberately transition from chaperone to coach/consultant--and hope our kiddos will have grace for us as we learn to ride on two wheels too!


Unknown said...

As a mom with my oldest leaving in a few weeks for college your post is raw and exactly what I needed to hear. As a single mom with a 14 yr old still at home our 2 wheels will be here soon. I have cried so much since January with the thought of her leaving. You would think I was never going to see her again. My new reality is quite daunting as I am starting all over trying to make new friends, finding a job that I am passionate about and being a single lady in 4 years. My faith is the only way I can put one foot in front another and get up every day. People tell me it does get better in time. I will miss our kitchen table dinners and talks, but mostly greeting her at the door when I hear the garage go up.

walnutshademom said...

I feel "Unknown's" pain, and now I'm at the other end from her: our youngest is leaving while her oldest is. May they both make good choices and live well!

Our oldest three have been far-flung from our Missouri home (Virginia, Hong Kong, and California) for several years now. The first departure was super-hard, the next two were somewhat easier, and this final one seems more like the first. = { For the past four years we've seen him occasionally, as he has lived on campus less than an hour away, but in five days he's moving out for good, to attend grad school in Louisiana. We don't have a garage, but he always honks three times when he pulls in. I will miss those honks, and our hugs and conversations SO much. It's unfortunate that growth sometimes produces grief. Both are necessary and good.