Shrinking in the Distance: My Kids Are Growing Up and Away

The day after Christmas, we enjoyed a short winter reprieve. Temperatures soared. With my 13-year-old’s brand-new drone fully charged, we headed to the park, where he could fly it in wide open spaces without worrying about entangling his new toy in wires or treetops. All of the pre-Christmas bustle had ceased and for once, we didn’t have holiday travel plans. Our visit to the park was sheer fun.

I took this picture of my children chasing after the drone in the distance. From our vantage atop a hill (at this time of year, it could as easily be the sled riding hill), they seemed so small. My oldest is only a few inches shorter than me, but in this picture, he might as well be the size of his three-year-old brother.children in the park

Something about this image, and even more so, the experience of it, moved me. My children are growing up and growing away. Running away. They ran all over the park with the drone. The only one who turned back, who waited for Mama, and wanted to hold my hand, was the “baby” of the family.

And that’s exactly as it should be. If my husband and I are doing our jobs right, we’re preparing them to leave, to be independent and self-sufficient. And yet, even though our children are relatively young and years will pass before even the oldest leaves the nest, it’s bittersweet.

Raising children is difficult on so many levels. It’s physical demanding, emotionally draining, and spiritually challenging. It’s also satisfying and joy-filled. It’s a love story, with a beginning, middle, and end.

We are firmly in the middle. The kids are slowly (S-L-O-W-L-Y) leaving our bed, our room. When I’m tempted to do things for them that they can do themselves, I need to step back and let them try. I need to appreciate the unique people they are with their varied senses of humor, foibles, gifts, and idiosyncrasies. God’s entrusted us, for a time, these small bodies and eternal souls, a thought that never fails to humble and scare me. Because every day, they’re growing up and away from me.

How do you/did you feel about your children growing up and leaving the nest?


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6 thoughts on “Shrinking in the Distance: My Kids Are Growing Up and Away

  1. Sweet post. And that park looks so big and fun! My boys are all teens now and I think about this often. We love seeing the men they are becoming but at the same time know we will miss the togetherness we have as a family now. Our lives are constantly changing and we move through several stages over the years. We knew the challenges, trials and joys of being children, teens, and young adults…all the stages our children will go through. As they grow to the next stage, we also enter a new stage…. God’s beautiful plan to stretch our hearts and help us grow toward Him!

    • That’s such a beautiful perspective! Yes, each stage challenges us in new ways. And Shank Park is huge and beautiful! I think there are about 10 soccer and baseball/softball fields there, but also a great hiking trail through the woods, that huge hill for sledriding, picnic area, playgrounds.

  2. It’s hard. My oldest turns 25 (!!!!) next week. He has been working and living on his own since he graduated college. It’s cool to see them learn to do new things (my daughter in college just texted me that she’s making my crab Mac & cheese recipe for her dinner) and I am much less in the hands-on stage of parenting and firmly in the “can do nothing but worry and pray” stage for my older 2.

    • I’m starting to see glimmers of that stage with the oldest. I love that he usually asks me to pray for him when he leaves for school in the morning.

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