It seems when you’re child, you can’t wait for the next phase. You’re constantly looking forward to when you’re older and the newness of every bit of the slight freedom you receive along the way.
I can remember as a child what it felt like to FINALLY figure out how to ride on 2 wheels, the wind blowing through my hair whispering to me I could go anywhere…or maybe just around the cove. Nevertheless, freedom.
I can remember walking through the doors of my school, first day of kindergarten, as a scared, shy girl. There in a tiny private school class, my love of learning was kindled. I was in awe of my teacher, the gatekeeper of knowledge, and I knew in that first year there was freedom in knowledge.
As time went by, but not nearly fast enough during the awkward middle school years, I experienced my first boyfriend, first dance and first car. Freedom. Freedom. Freedom.
The freedom you experience as a child is exhilarating as you navigate through the phases of childhood.
But, as a parent watching your own kids move onto the next phase? Terrifying.
As a child, it never hits you how much influence other people begin to have in your life as you mature - teachers, friends, boyfriends, small group leaders, family.
As a parent, it hits you like a ton of bricks as you watch your baby girl walk through the doors of her kindergarten class. At home, we were safe. We could cocoon ourselves in the warmth of our home and choose who we want to let inside.
You? Yes, you can come in. You, who doesn’t believe what we do? I’ll limit your exposure. But, you? Oh, definitely not you.
God has given parents life-long influence over the life of their child, but at times the amount and way we influence changes. It grows, and it diminishes. It ebbs and flows through the phases.
This week as my baby girl begins a new phase in her life and gains a new freedom, a part of me is mourning. Her gain has me feeling like I’m losing. Her new phase has left me as a mom feeling slightly phased out.
In every new phase, more people, more voices will enter into her life. Today I committed to praying for those voices. As she gains a little freedom, and I lose a little influence, let there be the right person filling the gap, giving her what she needs in the moment and for her life. Let it be a voice that echoes what her parents want for her and more importantly what her Savior wants for her.
Isn’t that the point of parenting, though? That we would one day be phased out? That we raise strong adults who don’t necessarily need us but wants us as friends and a sounding board later in life?
Hopefully, for all us parents with children beginning a new phase, we would realize we are not being phased out. We have people joining us in the journey of raising our child - another voice who can say things we may be not be able to, who can help them find and shape their passions and who can help strengthen their inner person.
What scares you as a parent as your child begins their new phase?