We did it! One down, two to go. Today is the day we sent our oldest off to college. I have been asked a lot lately "how are you feeling" in regards to my oldest starting this new journey. It's a tough question to answer. I am mostly excited for this young man. He has worked so incredibly hard to become who he is today and I honestly see a well prepared, hard working man ready for the future. I'd be lying if I didn't also say that I'm sad. I am going to miss his presence in my home. He is energetic, funny, caring and one of the hardest working young men you will meet. And he's my son. I have spent the past 18 1/2 years loving him close up. I will miss him so much. But mostly what I feel is thankful. Thankful to God for the way He carried us through parenting him through his life up to this point. Thankful for the family and friends who have walked beside us and been a part of raising him and supporting us. Thankful that he has turned into such a fine young man. And village, it took us all.
To his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins....you have loved him deeply and unconditionally. You were there when we brought him into the world. You loved him and us through every challenge and you celebrated every success. You made him feel valued and special. You invested time in his life and taught him many of the things in his life he has grown to love. You have loved him in a way that no one else has. Thank you!
To his teachers, counselors and principals....wow! You went above and beyond. You helped guide that little boy who had many fears and anxieties grow to be comfortable and confident. You were there when I cried, wondering if he would be okay (and he is!) and encouraged me not to give up. You helped him to see his challenges as a gift and taught him how to succeed. You gave him the confidence to dream and never give up. He is well prepared, ready and has all of the skills he needs to succeed as a student. Thank you!
To his doctors...you helped him to grow into a strong, healthy young man. You cared for his physical and mental/emotional health. You counseled both of us through many years of concern. I remember so many things, the little things, that you did to help him feel comfortable. You probably do not remember, you see so many kids. But to those mamas and their babies, your gift is priceless. For all of the times you received a tearful call from this mama, made room in your schedule to see him and treated him and made him feel special in the midst of the many patients you see daily, I am grateful. Thank you!
To his Sunday School teachers, youth group leaders and pastors...you may not realize the impact that you have had on this young man. I remember you too taking in this little guy, who had great separation anxieties (by the way, he has no problem separating now!), and making him feel loved. You taught him God's Word and mostly, that God loved him. Beyond telling him these things, you showed him. He could be a handful at times. You didn't kick him out and tell him he was unworthy. When he was too rambunctious and had struggles with impulse control, you kept him honest but didn't give up. You taught him and kept loving him. You never gave up and instilled in him something that will be with him for a lifetime. In our dining room sat piles of boxes full of things he was setting aside for college. On the top of one box sat his Bible. He knows it's value and that He will need it. Thank you.
To my friends...you were there for me as a mama through so many ups and downs. You encouraged me when parenting became more than I thought I could handle. You put up with a lot of crazy from this mama. You allowed me to share my fears and anxieties without judgement. And you weren't jealous when there were successes. You were my cheerleaders. You prayed with me. You had wine with me. You comforted me. You were my rock (and still are!). Thank you.
To my husband...you have been the greatest male influence in his life. I fell deeper in love with you as I watched you parent. Most of his loves have come from you. His great love for the outdoors...fishing, hunting, snowboarding, hiking, camping....this came from the time you invested with him. You took the time to talk with him and teach him how to be a man. He would not be who his is today if it weren't for you. He may not realize fully the impact you have had on his life yet....but he will one day when he parents his own children. He is incredibly blessed to have such a strong, caring man as his Daddy. Thank you.
Village, you are amazing. When I left my sweet boy at college, I was sad, but confident. He is still growing and learning, as are we. He will stumble and fall, but he has been loved and cared for in a way that will prepare him. And he will do great things, because we have invested in his life. I don't want to take you for granted! And we aren't done yet. I know that. I am glad to have you by my side on this life journey, especially with raising my kiddos. From this very grateful mama....thank you!