growing pains...

This morning after Mass I sent my eldest child off for a weekend retreat at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. He will be joined by 2500 other teens for a weekend filled with adoration, praise and worship, talks on vocations , and other fun and games. This is a "bonus" trip for Jonathan because he will be attending the University in the fall.

On this feast of St. Benedict, I was pondering how much this whole high school/college transition time reminds me of pregnancy. I know it sounds silly, but consider this with me for a minute.
Pregnancy is exciting and terrifying at the same time. You are unsure if you are strong enough to face all the challenges that will come, and yet you can't wait for the adventure to begin. Your body hurts with the stretching and growing, but there is great joy every time your baby kicks, showing you they are OK. There is great anticipation and wondering at who this little person will be, from the physical to their personality. Then their is the final step of labor. Pain and struggle followed by unbridled joy. It is a HUGE miracle, one you are so grateful to God for allowing you to experience.

Letting go of your high school senior is filled with just as much anticipation and fear. Will they be strong enough to forgo the peer pressure? Will they remember that God is with them ALWAYS even if you are not? Your body hurts to let them go. No more hugs or goofing around while your cleaning the dishes. You still feel them kicking, and it's not always pleasant. They want to to spread their wings so badly, seeking that independence you remember form your own journey. "Mom, seriously, it will be fine." You see glimpses of their strength from time to time and know it will be OK. You wonder, "Will he find his own niche? What will he be like when he comes home for Thanksgiving? Will I know him anymore?"

Then comes the final stage of labor. The packing, paying the tuition (oy, that's most painful!), buying books and all those final details that are MUSTS. Finally you arrive at the day when you say your goodbyes, pray that God will not abandon them OR you as you both begin this new phase of your family life. They are smiling from ear to ear feeling that abundant joy. You are smiling too, so proud of the miracle that God allowed you to witness and raise. Your heart still breaks though remembering that little boy who used to run to you for everything, and who you hope still remembers the way home.

So, in six weeks, I will give birth to a college freshmen. I ask for your prayers, and for all of you Mom's going through this, be assured of mine as well.

May God Bless all of those entering this new phase of family life. May our children ALWAYS feel Our Lord's presence wherever they are. May He lead them all home to Him!!