First, both my daughters graduated from our homeschool. When we’d decided that they’d graduate together, I knew I’d be in for a systemic shock when it happened. After all, I’d instantly lose an important “job” I’d officially held since 2007, and even my mothering role would change once the girls were recognized as bona fide adults. I’d purposed over the years to guard against making the title of “homeschool mom” the core of my identity. But it would also be delusional to believe that transitioning from that role would be seamless. Anyone who pours her heart and soul into a big “project” for almost 20 years is bound to experience loss when it wraps.
And then my younger daughter eloped with the love her life – less than a week after she’d turned 18! Thankfully, my husband and I love our new son-in-law. In fact, we’d fully anticipated an eventual wedding, and I’d embraced the idea that my transition from homeschool mom would include a stint as wedding planner and mother of the bride. Instead, lockdown-related restrictions scared the young couple, leading them to figure out how to marry in a pandemic. They live only a few miles from us, and I literally see her almost every day. But having one of my baby girls officially leave the nest has, indeed, been quite a transition.
The pandemic wreaked havoc with my older daughter’s plans, causing her to take an unplanned gap year. So, she’s still home. But, as I anticipated, parenting an adult child – even one who is very respectful and responsible and a lot like me – is a brand-new life experience.
And I’m a creature of habit. In fact, my husband’s very accurate nickname for is me “Rou-Tina,” which makes change – even happy developments like gaining a new family member and successfully launching my children into adult life – harder on me than it might be for others. But I’ve decided not to beat myself up over it.
Change is obviously inevitable; you may have experienced some big transitions in your life this year, too. And we must guard against wallowing in the past, wishing everything would stay the same when we know full-well it can’t. But we have to give ourselves grace.
For one thing, loathing negative change, such as the death of a loved one, isn’t wrong. And being nostalgic because time marched on more quickly than we’d prefer is natural. It’s also normal – because of how our culture treats the Christmas season – to experience such feelings more deeply at this time of year. If you’re feeling off-kilter right now due to transitions you’ve experienced over the past several months, welcome to the human race!
We must, of course, keep walking through valleys – armed with the Word of God and the encouragement of fellow believers – so we don’t get stuck. But if you’re in a change-initiated valley now, take heart. To paraphrase 1 Corinthians 10.13, nothing “has seized you except what is common to man. But God is faithful; He will not let [your transitions be more than] you can bear. …He will provide…so that you can stand up [through them].”