Facebook has a new feature that shows you pictures that you took years ago on that same day. For example, today featured pictures from August 7, 2009 that I had posted back then. Looking through them made me realize how quickly time is passing. I say it all the time: my boys are growing so fast and before I know it they’ll be grown and out of the house. People would warn me when they were younger to “enjoy this moment” because they grow so fast. The country song “Don’t Blink” portrays the same thing… And yet… I feel like I blinked, because it sure went quickly and I don’t feel ready. My boys who were once so dependent on me for their every move are now pretty self-sufficient teenagers, and while that should be a badge of honor knowing that “we raised them well” and that the goal is to raise them so that they can move out someday and be on their own, it makes me sad sometimes.
Both of my boys are now taller than me, and I know that the inches will keep increasing over the next several years. It’s a weird feeling to look up at your boys. Proverbs 22:6 says “Direct your child onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it” (NLT). That’s all we can do as parents. Train them, lead them, guide them… And pray that those lessons stick and they will be able to look back someday and remember the words of wisdom we try to impart on them.
We try to teach our children from our past mistakes and experience… to try to save them from the pain or hassle that we went through. And pray that they listen… If not now, that the words will bury deep in their hearts and come out at the time they truly need them. There will be days that we feel like failures as parents, times that we take on their mistakes as our identities, times that we feel inadequate or just “not enough.” A common fear among parents is that we are “screwing up our kids” or that we will be the reason our children need therapy someday. Parents, relax. We must remember that our children are independent beings, that we can try to be the best parents we can, but we are human. We will fail. But we can also trust the fact that God has given us these children knowing that we will fail, knowing that it will bring us closer to Him, helping us to be more dependent on Him.
As we raise our teenage boys, we are learning to lean into Him, to fully trust Him. It’s the weirdest thing: dropping my oldest off at his first “real” job, letting them go for bike rides or walks by themselves (and not just up and down the road), dropping them off at the movies to meet friends (and not insisting that I sit right behind them… or even anywhere in the theater). They’re growing up. They’re becoming young men. Their teaching me to trust God more every day. But they’re also teaching me the importance of enjoying life every day… Because before you know it, they’re all grown. Don’t blink.