I found a journal entry from a while back that I thought was worth posting:
In just a few days, my youngest son will leave for college. Waves of emotion come uncontrollably and more and more often as the day nears. A memory or an object reminds me of him, and without warning, tears stream down my face. They come quickly, flowing past my face onto my neck. It can happen anywhere—whether I’m alone or in the middle of the grocery store.
The emotions are so intense and deep because I spent 19 years loving and sacrificing for my son who is now grown and ready to go, ready to fly away from the nest that cared for him and was vigilant to protect and prepare him for this day.
I know he’s ready in every way, so my sadness isn’t laden with fear or regret. It’s actually a strange mix of sadness and joy. I can’t explain how both emotions can be there so strongly and distinctly, but they are.
There is sadness because he is going to leave a huge hole in both my husband’s and my heart and life. His presence brings such happiness and joy. Just having him in the house cheers us up and makes us smile.
I have joy because he is ready to leave and accomplish all that the Lord has for him, and I know that he has to “go out” from us for this to happen. He is as prepared as we know how to prepare him. Now he will be completely in the Lord’s hands, flying off to another place and stage of his life with Him. There is a deep joy in my heart knowing that my husband and I will now begin to see the fruit of our parenting.
As you are prepare your children to leave your nest, think about how much time you really have left with them. Before they’re school-age, your children spend most of their time with you and you have a lot of time to love them and shape their character. When they start school, you have much less time to influence them and others give more input into their lives and character than you do. By the time they reach high school, they have made friends, started jobs and developed interests and activities that take them away from home a larger percentage of their day. Your “hours of influence” get smaller and smaller with time.
Though your children may still be young, how many “hours of influence” do you still have to build character and a love for our Lord in your children? How are you using this precious time to prepare your children to leave your nest ready to face a world that encourages them to indulge in themselves rather than serving others.
Cherish the hours you have left with your children, and be intentional in how you spend that time, because they will fly away more quickly than you anticipate.