Tender Transplants

I’ve spent a great deal of time digging in the dirt in the last few weeks.

I’ve divided African violets, re-potted house plants, and transplanted tender seedlings into larger containers.

Tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, eggplants, cauliflower.

eggplant seedlingsIt’s a slow, meticulous and rather messy job,  but it does give one a great deal of time to think.

While my hands were covered in potting soil and I carefully moved the tender root systems from one container to a larger one, it suddenly came to me that I am in a transplanting season in life.

My kids are growing up fast and and leaving. They are being transplanting from our home to homes and apartments of their own.

They’ve outgrown their old lives just as my seedlings have outgrown their pots.

They need more room.

But, unlike my plants, I will not be the one to transplant my children. It’s time for them  to do it for themselves.

New jobs, new classes, new friends.

New problems, new responsibilities, new decisions.

On their own.

As I looked down at the tomato seedling in my hand and saw it’s fragile roots, I realized how vital a strong root system is to a plant.

How much more so for my children!

tomato seedlingsAnd my momma heart prayed, “Take care of the roots, children!”

Those precious roots that your dad and I have tried to build into your lives.

Roots that will anchor you in the bedrock of strong faith.

Roots that will help you stay strong when the world is storming around you.

Watch those roots!

Tend them carefully.

Water them.

Give them good soil.

Let them grow deep and strong.

Please children, hear your momma’s heart.

Take care of the roots.

Bobby Pins

bobby pinsI thought that once my kids were past the Lego and Polly Pockets phase of life that our plumbing would be safe from foreign objects.

I was wrong.

Nobody warned me about teenage girls and bobby pins.

When I was a teenager bobby pins were something that Grandma wore to hold her “set” until her next appointment with Edna.

My mom had some – a remnant of her teenage years in the 1950’s.  These were stored in the back of her dresser drawer and pulled out once or twice a year as needed to use in our high school plays.

They were not cool.

They were to be avoided at all costs.

But not any more.

Now they are hot commodities; much needed for the casual “updo” that my girls love.

And they are all over my house.

I find them in every room – on the floor, in the couch, on the counter, on the table, in the sink. I think the girls must shed them as they walk or something since I’ve even found bobby pins in their brothers’ room.

They leave rust stains in the shower, get stuck under the baseboards and have babies in the bathroom vanity. I cleaned out the drawers recently and found enough bobby pins to curl and set an entire nursing home wing.

I guess I should count my blessings.

Like the fact that my girls do their own hair now – and it’s beautiful.

And hey – at least bobby pins don’t hurt like a Lego when you step on it on your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night!

Home School Conference Time

By the time you are reading this – I will be  immersed in the unique world of the the yearly NICHE home school conference.

And I’m so excited!

Jan and I look forward to this weekend all year! Two wonderful days together!

We’ll walk hand in hand through the curriculum hall – drooling over books and resources. Debating over purchases. Adding to our extensive library.

Running into friends and family in the hallways between sessions, laughing and catching up with life.

Sitting side by side during keynotes – gleaning wisdom and encouragement from the speakers.

Having deep conversations over our picnic lunches.

Honing, refining our vision for our family.

Sharing our thoughts, our convictions, our dreams, our realities.

Making life-changing decisions. (Was it just a year ago that we heard John Stonestreet speak and sent Matt to Summit, which lead to his semester in Colorado, which lead to Oxford?)

Alone, together, surrounded by thousands of people, but belonging to each other.

A team.

On the same page.

United.

I can’t wait!

Flying Solo

Flying SoloMy friend Cinnamon came over last Thursday for a little “Tea and Talk”- which – of course – included chocolate brownies!

As we sat there sipping and talking, the conversation turned to watching our sons become young men.

It’s especially hard when they no longer want, but still need, our advice as moms.

She shared with me how she was learning to say, “I’m perfectly happy for you to live with the consequences of your decision.” <insert motherly smile>

It really is quite freeing.

I know this because about 48 hours later I had a chance to practice it.

All last week our oldest son Matt was at Teen Pact Challenge – a grueling boot-camp-like experience designed to teach young men discipline, self-control, teamwork and reliance on God.

He had bought his own plane ticket on-line through Expedia, and the journey to Altanta went without a hitch.

The journey home was another story.

He was scheduled to leave the Atlanta airport at 6:00 on Saturday evening and get into Des Moines about 11:30 with a lay-over in Chicago.

But Saturday afternoon we got a call.

When he went to the counter to check-in he discovered that when he had ordered his ticket, he had accidentally scheduled his return trip for November 9th instead of October 9th.

He either needed to find another flight or wait a month for his scheduled one.

He had just enough time to deliver this news before his trac phone was out of minutes.

So my 17 year old son is stuck at the Atlanta-Hartsfield Airport with no ticket and no phone.

My very first thought was “I”m perfectly happy for you to live with the consequences of your decision.” <insert motherly smile>

Seriously.

You know what? It worked!

There wasn’t anything I could do about the situation, and worrying wouldn’t help. He wanted to be grown-up, well, let’s see just what the kid is made of.

It looks like he’s made of pretty good stuff.

Jan went online, put more minutes on Matt’s phone and called him back.

Matt had already called Expedia, even before he called home,  but they wouldn’t do anything since it was less than 6 hours before the flight.

He had also talked to the people at American Airlines, but they wouldn’t do anything because he bought his ticket through Expedia.

He had checked into flights to Des Moines but discovered a flight that night would cost $700 and a flight the next day would be $400. Ouch.

(Can I just say – that at this point I was impressed with everything he had already done to remedy the situation!)

Jan told him to see if there were any flights into Kansas City – which is a little farther away – but usually cheaper.

A little while later we got a call that he got a flight into Kansas City that was actually cheaper than his original ticket. He bought his ticket himself, flew out at 8:00 and arrived in KC about 10:00.

He’s home again with some really smelly clothes and a voracious appetite!

It seems we both learned some valuable lessons that day.

He will never again book a flight without double checking his dates!

And I learned that while the hardest part of mothering is the letting go – it’s so rewarding to see them fly solo!

Parenting Panic

parenting panicIt went by way too fast!

It seems like just yesterday that I started my first year of homeschooling with my oldest and now we’re talking about senior pictures and future plans!

This moment wasn’t supposed to come so soon – and I’ll admit to a few moments of panic.

One year from now he will be starting a new chapter in his life and my mind keeps asking – “Is he ready?”

“Have I done enough?”

“Did I cover all the academics he needs? What about life skills – did I remember everything?”

Then there’s the question of what’s next?

People have already started to ask what his future plans are. I feel like a terrible mother when I blush and stammer – “Umm… I don’t know”.  But I don’t know because he doesn’t know.

And then I get all panic-y because I really do want to know. I want to have it laid out – our 5 year plan, our 10 year plan. But – that’s just it – it isn’t “our” life to plan – it’s his.

parenting panicI can give guidance and input – but I can’t control or make those decisions.

That’s when I really get panic-y! What if he makes a wrong decision? What if he messes up?

But wait a minute – didn’t I mess up on occasion? I still do.

My goal in parenting isn’t to raise perfect children – that would be impossible. My goal is to raise mature kids who love the Lord with all their heart and want to serve Him.

So I think it’s time to stop fretting and get back on my knees. I need to give this boy back to God and let Him do the planning.

It really doesn’t matter what my son does next year or in five years, or in 10 years – as long as he’s doing what God wants him to do – this Momma will be proud.

But letting go isn’t easy…