Recently I sat down to write out my five year plan. Typically, this isn’t too difficult, I simply map out my goals personally, financially, spiritually, educationally and family wise. This time though my five year planning had a reality hit me like a ton of bricks. It was this moment that I realized in four short years, my oldest son will be graduated from high school, and at the end of my five year plan he will have completed his first year of college. This made me then see that in five short years my daughter will be a sophomore in highschool and my youngest son in seventh grade. I sat, notebook and pen in front me, in shock; unable to work on my five year plan as I was lost in the sudden reality of how soon my kids will be grown up, and lost even further in memories.
I was 19 when I had Zion. I was still a kid myself. I will never forget the first time I felt him move in my stomach, the first time I held him and learned what it felt like to truly love someone other than myself. I will never forget the late nights, the sleepless nights, the giggles, the learning to sit up, to crawl, to walk and to talk. I remember his first day of kindergarten, of middle school and just recently of high school. I have laughed with him, cried with him, set goals with him, celebrated successes, mourned failures and above all I have gotten to watch him grow into a young man.
I was 23 when I had Aysa. Still young on so many levels. I had grown up and matured in many ways through raising Zion, through learning to be a mom and care for another life. I was surprised when I found out I was pregnant with this baby girl. I was more surprised when I held her the first time after her being born, and realized I could love another child so much. I had no idea I was capable of loving with such depth. I remember this little girls’ first laugh, learning to sit up, to crawl, to walk, to talk and above all I remember how much she added to mine and Zion’s lives. I have shared with her moments that I cherish; I know there are many more to come with her as she begins her journey into becoming a young lady. She is learning to love herself the way she is; to not listen to what the world says a girl should be or look like; instead she is learning who God created her to be. It’s lovely getting to watch her embrace who she is, her gifts and talents, her strengths and weaknesses. It’s an honor to be her mom; to get to love on her, to pour into her, to encourage, to guide and to pray for her.
26. That’s the age I was when Azariah a.k.a. Riah joined my life. I was nervous. How would I love another child? How would this change our family? My nerves were calmed instantly upon his birth. Zion and Aysa surrounded me as Riah entered the world. Zion instantly fell in love with his brother; never letting him out of his sight while nurses bathed him, weighed him and swaddled him in his blanket. I clearly remember holding precious Riah in my arms, while Zion and Aysa snuggled up on either side of me in my hospital bed. I knew then I had been truly blessed. I was given three amazing babies to love on and build memories with. I also remember his first laugh, him learning to sit up, to crawl, to walk, to talk. I remember how he did all this earlier than Zion and Aysa because he wanted to keep up with his bubba and sissy. He has added so much laughter to our home. He has tested us with his strong personality, but he has courage and a strength that I admire. He has traveled between Oklahoma and Washington since he was one due to his dad and me getting divorced; and while this is less than ideal, there have been many blessings from it. I get the honor of getting to talk with him, building him up, encouraging him. He gets to learn that he is brave and courageous and cling to the fact that God will use the situation for something great in his life. I get the honor of loving him, of holding him in the moments his heart hurts, of him sharing his feelings with me, of praying with him and over him.
All this and so much more ran through my head while I realized that in five years, each of these kids would be five years older. While this sounds simplistic, when I realized that five years is a blink of an eye, I realized how much more I need to be in the moment with these kids. How much more I need to let go of thinking I need to be somewhere else, to be in college, or to be keeping up with friends around me. Instead, I am right where I am meant to be, doing exactly what I am called to do. I am raising three kids to be world changers, to be lights in the world. I am raising three kids to have a heart like His, to follow their hearts, to embrace each moment, to be thankful for our blessings and each other.
My five year plan changed drastically in that moment. Five years. Five short years. In five years I will love more, be in the moment more, laugh more and continue to build my kids faith and their relationship with Christ. In five short years I will give my kids wings to fly, a strength to follow their hearts, the courage to walk in faith and a deep rooted knowledge that they are dearly loved and cherished, that they matter.
It doesn’t get easier. I had thought that as the years went on I would get use to it; that I would no longer feel the angst, the loss, the hurt when he is gone. It’s not true. As time goes on, it doesn’t get easier, it simply changes. I am use to the schedule. I am use to being without him for windows of time while he visits his dad. I am use to the long weekends to get him to and from the airports. I am use to the chaos of purchasing tickets, of coordinating schedules, of packing his bags. I am use to the process of it all. I am use to the feelings and the emotions. I had hoped it would change. I had hoped it would become easier because I would get use to it all. After seven years though, I have come to see the feelings don’t change. I cannot love him and be okay with him leaving. I cannot love him with all of me and watch him walk down the walkway to board his plane without tears forming in my eyes. I cannot watch the plane depart down the runway without the tears falling from my eyes and running down my cheeks.
As I stood and watched the plane taxi down the runway I questioned my decision. Should I have let him travel alone again? What happens if he cries? What happens if he gets scared? What will he do if his ears hurt upon landing? Typically, he would be holding my hand as we taxied down the runway; if he cried he would lean against me and allow me to love on him; if his ears hurt upon landing I would massage his ears. This time, he was alone. I was not there to comfort him, to talk with him, to laugh with him. He was alone in the plane for the three and a half hour flight to Dallas.
While watching the plane taxi, while having all the questions race through my head, I was granted a peace that I cannot explain. I knew he would be safe. I knew I made the correct choice, and that he could handle the flight alone. I knew it was time for him to gain some more authentic confidence. I knew I needed to trust my decision to have him fly alone. I know him, I know his various smiles, laughs, cries and faces; because of this, I also knew this was a moment where I needed to give him wings to fly.
This is the first of many moments where I will have to let go. Not just of my youngest, but of my other two as well. These three kids are not mine forever. They have been given to me to raise, to love and to build into men and a woman who will be world changers. Part of raising kids to be world changers is giving kids controlled moments to grow their confidence, to grow their abilities and to realize just what they are capable of. This means letting go, releasing them in moments where as a mom I want to cling to them, I want to hold onto them and protect them, and yet I have to allow them to spread their wings, to take flight and see what they are truly made of.
While today was simply putting youngest on a plane alone for the second time, it was a reminder to me of what lies ahead. It was a reminder to cherish each moment I am blessed with in the midst of the chaos, it was a reminder that I will never get use to letting go, but that letting go is all a part of the process. I have to let go in order to allow the kids to be who God has created them to be; to allow them to grow and step into their callings. It’s also a piece of my growth, of me trusting the Lord even when my heart aches, of me remembering that these kids are only mine for a short period of time and I need to cherish each moment I am blessed with.
I'm a single mom of four radiant kids who believes in relationship with Jesus over religion. I'm trying not to battle with fear anymore - instead I am choosing to follow what God has called me to do. With that you'll find me here, trying to be brave, with the goal of being authentic and honest about God, single parenting and the beauty in the mess of my joyful chaos. It's sure to be a journey... and I am blessed to share it with you!