Two of my children celebrated milestone birthdays this last week. The oldest clocked in at a whopping 18 years, and the middle hit his sweet spot of 16. I know every parent says it, but the time really has flown by. I look at the maturing faces of these young adults, and I’m just in awe. I thought we would never make it this far!
Raising three children as a single mom these last 13 years has been anything but a snooze fest. The days and years have been painted with action packed adventure, lots of trial and error, excruciating frustration and tears, priceless joy, painful seasons of growth, and lots and lots of me redefining what a successful parent is and who my children are supposed to be. Oh, if only you could peek inside my imagination and see the three tiny pilgrims I had envisioned my kiddos would become (and the nun I myself would be as I raised them up in this calling). In the words of Garth Brooks, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”
Case in point, as I type this, my oldest is dancing, acting, and singing her heart out for the department heads of UCLA’s theatre program. For the last two years, Holland has stacked up her college courses, participated in productions, worked hard at a busy restaurant, paid for voice and monologue training, and started a savings account for her college education. Although any parent would be proud of all this hard work and dedication, this is a far cry from my earlier visions of her joining the ranks of Mother Theresa — as she vowed to a life of ministry and poverty and serving the poor and dieing. Don’t get me wrong, that is a noble vision and calling, priceless even. But it is not Holland’s. And had I persisted in the mentality that for her to do something else would be “less” worthy, I wouldn’t have this matchless joy of seeing her unfold into all that God created HER to be. When Holland is performing, she is ALIVE in the truest sense of the word, and as she radiates life, I get a glimpse into the unique and creative work of God.
How about that middle one, you ask? Right now, he is a hard working teengager that doesn’t really want to think about tomorrow, let alone his future. The little boy who wanted to drive a tank in the army or build bridges as an engineer, just wants to survive high school! And although my dreams for him went from minister to university graduate, he and I decided that junior college after high school is enough for now. This individual is still unfolding, and I want Jacob to thrive in whatever he finds purpose in and whatever makes HIM feel alive,
No, most things in my and my children’s lives doesn’t look anything like I expected. Few things in life ever do. But if I were given the choice between what I thought it should be, and what it is. I choose the is ❤