Sunday, September 29, 2013

Married, With Children

I was one of those little girls who, at age two, would sit in my stroller and point out "babies" to my mom. My mother has confirmed this. As far back as I can remember, I have loved babies. I started babysitting at age 10 for two little boys next door and over the next decade managed to amass hours of experience. I remember at age 14 holding days-old Amy and panicking when she got the hiccups because I didn't know a baby so small and new could even GET hiccups. Unfortunately, I was only making $.50/hr, so early retirement is not in the cards for me.

I was also one of those little girls who dreamed of her prince. I grew up with brothers, so it wasn't so much the "mystery and intrigue" of men that appealed to me. It was more the strength. As a young teen, I longed to find Mr. Right, settle down, and start having those babies!  So, yes. My heart's desire while growing up was to be married, with children.

God is good. He honored that desire and brought Gary into my life when I was 24 years old. We were married at 26 and my firstborn came when I was 28.  By 34, I'd had another daughter and a son, and I was feeling like my life could not be better. I considered myself a good mom. I loved and enjoyed my children. Growing, protecting, educating, entertaining and feeding them was my passion, and my gifts were being maximized. Were all days good and sweet? Nope. I failed repeatedly. I often fell asleep feeling that I could have been more, done more, played more, listened more. But for the most part, I was living the dream.

Fast-forward to Friday, September 20th, 2013. Launch Day. 

I DID make Tommy a hearty breakfast. We DID load up both cars. The drive took longer than expected, but the check-in/unload process went well.  I DID make his bed while he decorated with posters. When we got him checked in, there was a little booklet called a "passport" on his desk. The RA emphasized the importance of reading this book and having it with you at all times. So, he did. The first mandatory student-only meeting was at 6. It was now 4:45. We headed to the bookstore to buy pens and notebooks. Then we ate. Tick...tick...tick...

The gumball-sized throat-lump seemed to be growing by the minute. Now it was a walnut. Then a golf-ball. By 5:45, it was a tennis ball.  At 5:50, I hugged my son harder than I have in a LONG time. I struggled to say goodbye. Tears flowed. And suddenly, as I pulled away, I realized: I was neither "married", NOR "with children".

It took me three hours to drive home. I wept, processed, and wept some more. I struggled with identity. If I'm not a wife and mom, WHO AM I?

God is not only good. He is gracious, compassionate, kind. He reminded me that I am beloved, bought with a high price: the blood of Jesus. He reminded me that I have a hope and a future. HE knows the plans He has for me, and that is enough.  It was a hard drive home, but by the time I unlocked my door and walked into this quiet apartment, I was comforted. God has provided for me in my hour of greatest need, and I have no reason to believe this will change. I am filled with a sense of anticipation...

 The Campus at CWU.  Tommy's dorm is by the green-topped building.

I told him he was lucky--his dorm is the closest dorm to food.

It gets really windy there, evidently. I did not share this news with Tommy. He'll find out soon enough!
 Tommy's dorm is called "Hitchcock." I don't think Tommy knows who Alfred Hitchcock is, and I'm hoping this dorm was not named after Alfred.

Tommy has girls living 2 doors down. This scares me.  I am glad he grew up with sisters.
Maybe the "mystery and intrigue" will not be as much of a factor for him. Maybe.
And here is the college freshman on his bed. Just looking at this picture brings the tennis ball back. Pray for my man-child, that God would continue to protect and guide him.  Thank you for reading my blog!


Ron Synstelien said...

Oh, my have been a model wife and mother and gave all that you had to both roles. Your children will continue to need you the rest of your days on this earth. You will always be their mother, but you are SO MUCH MORE! Those gifts that God has used to bless and build your innermost circle will continue to be called into play in your daily life on a broader base. I am so thankful for the treasure God has deposited in your for I have been the benefactor of His goodness through you on so many occasions. When I pray for you, and those you love, I pray with great EXPECTATION. God continues to write your story. And I can hardly wait for the next chapter!!!!

Ron Synstelien said...

And by "Ron Synstelien," my computer really means "Dawn Synstelien."

Anonymous said...

It gives me a tennis ball too. Good job, mom! You done good!

donnaletton said...

Christie... you have been such an example to me of the mom who gives her all and then some...the Martha Stewart mom... and you will always be that will just begin to look differently. And now you get to be the one on a new adventure, too...and see God open up all kinds of things. Sure wish we could meet Sat. a.m. for a Cinnabun, or whatever that amazing thing was called. :) love you!