Don’t Turn Around

My BabyRecently my heart has become tender as I ponder the bitter-sweet truth of being a parent.

Our babies grow up.

On one hand, it is a thrill to see Baby reach milestones . We celebrate her very first step, the first word, the first loose tooth and the first day of school, among a long list of other “firsts”. Indeed, our child exponentially gains knowledge, skills, talents and personality beyond our wildest imagination. It is pure joy to watch the miracle of our creation in partnership with God!

Turning 18And yet, on the other hand, there is a price which must be paid. The currency required is Time. A sadness softly creeps into my heart knowing as milestones are met and passed, they never return. The beloved pacifier and blankie are left behind for toys, and play-dates. These are then discarded for car keys, prom dresses and first-dates. As the fingerprints and smudges disappear from our home, the shiny glass and walls left behind seem hollow and empty.

We turn around, and discover our babies are grown and heading off on their own. This conundrum is called “the Circle of Life”. It is part of a grand plan of God for us to be born, to grow, to live and to die. And yet, no matter how necessary or logical, the process is never easy. Especially on a mother’s heart.

College GoodbyeThe difficulty of experiencing a major “season change” has become very personal recently. In a few short weeks I will be placing my own little child in the car and then driving her to another city where I will help her move her things into a dorm room, and then be expected to kiss her goodbye, and drive away.

In that brief moment, our family and our life as we know it will change forever. I have reached a chapter which I yearn to keep writing, but soon must close.

Of course, Ready or notI feel boundless joy in celebrating my child’s great achievements. She has soaring hopes, amazing dreams, and a bright future! She’s beautiful and vibrant and eager to spread her wings. She’s ready and capable to fly. What more could a mother hope for?

And yet, I feel a heavy tug at my heart which threatens to break my resolve to be a reasonable and rational mother, and just lock her tightly away in a tower!

I know the circle of life will continue to turn, no matter how hard I may try to stop it. Therefore, every moment I have between this day, and that fast approaching day in August is priceless. These are days to be treasured, savored and never forgotten. Oh, how I wish I could have internalized this perspective the moment she arrived eighteen years ago, when all six pounds nine ounces of her was gently placed into my arms. I imagined then that there would be oodles of time together. So, I wasn’t careful enough, and I turned around.

Note: The song “Turn Around” was written in 1959 by Harry Belafonte, Alan Greene, and Malvina Reynolds.

10 thoughts on “Don’t Turn Around

  1. For those of us so blessed, we are privileged to experience these “cycles” of life. I will be doing the very same thing, as you – come August. But for me, it will be with my fifth and youngest child. My son, Alton, will be going away and attending BYU in Idaho. After 31 years of parenting, I will now have to deal with “empty nest” syndrome.

    However, I want to assure you, that those “pacifiers, blankies and left behind toys” will still be a part of your life — thanks to grandchildren. I now have nine — and never once have I had to ache for the experiences of my own children’s youths.

    That beautiful “cycle” continues in a fullness of joy, indescribable!

    tDMg

  2. I recently logged on to your website. It is beautiful! I am the mother of six children. Three of them are married one is deceased, one is ready to leave soon on an lds mission and one is still at home. I have had a lot of experience “turning around” and it is truly bittersweet. I understand what it is like to say goodbye to a child who leaves home for school , a mission, to get married and to one who’s life’s mission is to serve beyond the “veil” of death. “Turning around” indeed brings both joy and sorrow. Somehow our Heavenly Father enables us to adapt, over time, to changes is our lives. Whatever the losses, when we have loved well and done the best we could there is a measure of peace that comes to sustain us which grows through the years and circles back to begin again in the lives of our children’s children. These new little ones who come into our lives, making us grandparents, renew much of the joy we found in parenting, but now we also relish our time with each child because we know how precious and fleeting it is. God bless you in your journey! – GP

    • GP – Thanks for reading and taking the time to share a comment!
      It really is true, our Heavenly Father enables us to adapt to many different circumstances and changes. It’s always uncomfortable and often painful, as you have personally experienced. However, I have always found amazing grace in my journey in all of my past circumstances, so that gives me faith in the future. I wish you all the very best in your journey, too. Please keep in touch.

  3. I’ve got 10 years before that frightful moment when I’m expected to hand my oldest little girl over to the world. I think about how dumb I was at that age, and I wonder how I made it this far. And I hope I’ve taught her to be a lot smarter than I was, because I shiver to think of her doing some of the dumb stuff I did. Did we really think we were invincible and immortal at that age? But as I see her grow into a beautiful little girl, I’ve started to realize that parents have known the answer to these dilemmas for thousands of years: arranged marriages. We can just skip all the dating nonsense, skip all the hand-wringing and boy talk, and have a seamless transition. I can hand her off directly from a safe, comfortable home to a solid, nearly-perfect returned missionary I have thoroughly vetted and tested, and who has cleared an extensive background check. No worries.

  4. Pingback: It’s Not Like I’m Dying « MORMON SOPRANO

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