Missing My Middles

It’s stunning how quiet a house becomes when its number of children is reduced by half.

PicMonkey Collage

These two cuties, my “middle littles”, are in another state this week on an inner-city mission trip with our church’s youth group.

I hear that they’re having fun, but man, I miss those smiles. It’s just so…quiet around here.

When kids get older — and these kiddos are 13 — it’s good for parents and children to have breaks, I think, even if it does leave parents with some anxious moments. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. It makes me realize how well our family works together and how much I appreciate the daily hugs, laughter and energy these two bring to our home. It’s hard to tell with teenagers, but hopefully there’s a bit of that on their end, too…maybe? Realizing that despite all our annoyances, it’s good that we have each other to come back to.

I had a couple of friends tell me that they think it’s great that we let them go. One said, “It’s hard for a parent to let their children go and do things…but you will be blessed for giving them wings! From that moment forward, they’ll always be able to fly. I wish I had been allowed to fly when I was young. I know it’s hard, but you’re doing the right thing!

I needed to hear that encouragement. I mean, I wanted them to go, from a service perspective, mostly. I think it’s impossible to embrace a lifestyle of giving at too young an age. It’s my prayer that my kids will have hearts that ache for their fellow man along with the desire and courage to do hard things that make life easier for others. And I think that opportunities like this help ground that core value into them at an early age.

But it’s still hard as a mama, to not know exactly what they’re doing, and when, and if they’re eating well and sleeping fine and healthy at any given moment. I don’t know how parents did separations like this before cell phones. (Although, it’s not like they’re jumping to return my texts, which have been few, because I am TRYING to not be Horribly Hovering Helicopter Mom.) I do unashamedly admit I’ve been relentlessly stalking chaperone’s Facebook pages for updated pictures, however.

My 17-year-old just left to go to the mall. He drove himself. Oh dear Lord in heaven, I don’t know how he’s old enough to drive a car and just BE out in this big ol’ world all by himself. At least the other two are with several adults I know well. But Zach? I blinked and he’s a man, doing crazy-man-stuff like driving cars to places all alone!

At this moment, it’s just me, the hubs and the kindergartener at home. And it’s WEIRD, y’all. Just so, so weird.

I know I shouldn’t think so far in advance, but I’m getting a taste of what that empty nest is going to feel like, and I don’t like it.

I don’t like it at all.

I know it’s good and necessary to cut those apron strings, but honestly? This whole “letting them fly” business is really kinda for the birds.