Tuesday, September 27, 2011

So, This is Growing Up?

Courtesy S. Squires
I miss the old, slow paced children's show, Mr. Rogers. I can remember an episode when he mentioned growing up on the outside and growing up on the inside as being 2 different things. He talked about how scary it could be to grow up on the inside. I shoulda listened. The man knew what he was talking about!

As a homeschooling mom, I keep waiting for that magic day when I get my final report card, can take a deep breath and say, “Whew! I GRADUATED!” I always thought when he walked across his 12th grade graduation stage, I'd be dancing a jig saying, “I'm free! I'm free! I did it! I did it!!” WRONG. When I still felt like I needed to see one more milestone to feel ok about our educational choices, I knew I had it bad. I thought once he made A's and B's in his college classes, I could breathe easy and forget about him. Ahhh...Nope. Not then either.

I now know that once you hold that bundle in your arms right after the doctor hands him/her over, you never really get over the moment. If you are anywhere NEAR normal, that kid is gonna haunt you till the day you die! Even if you are 110 and he/she is 90 and not nearly as cute as they were when they were all moist and steamy fresh out of God's oven! You just can't shake 'em. No matter how hard you try.

So, here I am again at the precipice of success/destruction and not sure which way we are headed! He's half way around the world – jet lagged, brain-fried, and a little homesick. He's wondering how he got himself into this adventure, and as he said during out last phone call, wondering who he 'thought he was thinking he could do all this....'

His plane from LAX took off in the wee hours of our morning. After he'd been up for almost 24 hours already, he had a 13 hour flight to go. You can imagine that I tossed and turned more than I slept.

He's flown one other time before...when he went to China 2 years ago. Then, he was with a veteran traveler who hits every continent except Antarctica at least twice a year. One minute I'd think about how thankful I was for that trip and all he learned at Jim's expense. The next minute, I was apoplectic wondering how I got us INTO this mess and if we were going to survive!

After all, I'm the one that gave him the website that put him in touch with the folks who invited him over to work on this project. My husband keeps telling me I had some help from God. I know there is a God, and I'm not him...but I still feel uber-responsible and ultra-uber-afraid.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I have a rich heritage for a poor girl. Some of my earliest memories are of missionaries holding me on their laps just after church services. They'd put on a slide show of their country and people for the parishioners. At home, we'd get treated to the out-takes that didn't make it to the main show. Africa, India, Nepal, and South America became rich memories in the fabric of my life. For a short time...yea...about a nano-second, I flirted with the IDEA of going to Nepal to work. Then, I remembered I was a fraidy cat at heart. I got over the impulse.

As I grew into adulthood, it became my contemporaries who took off for the wild blue yonder. Then, it became the children of my contemporaries who were taking off. So, last night, I thought about all the people who have made up the fabric of my life, all the places they've been, and all the things they've done. I thought about how they put their kids on a plane. Then, they have the audacity to NOT lay awake all night for the next 6 weeks waiting for the kids to come home.

When I grow up, I want to BE like those friends who sleep through the night. I'm sick and tired of this fraidy cat. I thought about how my kid is on the adventure of a life time and how it will grow him up in more ways than I can imagine. Suddenly, it dawned on me...he isn't the only one doing the growing up here. I guess God must think he's pretty sneaky getting a 2 for 1 deal out of this grand little plan of his.

Tonight, I am absolutely scared to death. Growing up on the inside sure is scary. I should know. I'm doing it right now as I type. A couple days ago, I ended my post with this advice:

I don't know what your fraidy cat is, but for today, think about the way you respond to fear by trying to control some circumstance. Give the other folks affected by your fear a little room to breathe. You'll be better, stronger for it...and so will they. Your tiny act of relinquishing control just might lead....to flying!”

A kind reader commented how wise was my advice. Yea...some smarty pants I am...I was able to offer that advice because I'm having to live it right now. I'm not sure who 'they' is but 'they' knew what they were talking about when they said: misery loves company! I didn't wanna be alone in this growing up thing, so I invited you along for the ride. God isn't the only sneaky one around here!

Courtesy B. Creasy
So, friady cat, come back tomorrow. If you're brave enough, share the pain. Invite a friend or 2 to come along! Let's laugh. Let's cry. Let's grow up together. I can't do it without you. I'm too scared.

Romans 15:13 (NLT)
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.


  1. I am a fraidy cat sitting in a hotel room, homeless and in limbo at the mercy of the military wondering what our next few years are going to look like. As I sit here trying to "grow up on the inside" my real cat (i.e. the one in the first picture above) is as happy as a lark. As long as he can stretch, climb, pounce, meow and explore he's a happy kitty, not a fraidy cat like his owner :). Yes, growing up on the inside, as dear Mr. Rogers put it, is not only scary but painful. I'm always reminded of the verse where Paul talks about becoming like Christ by sharing in his sufferings. Sometimes I wish that becoming more like Him wouldn't involve pain and heart-ache! But then we would be happy to stay where we are, only growing up on the outside (not a pretty sight), lol!
    I'm so proud of Will for becoming a "world traveler"! We are praying for him! And Hannah is too even though she is a little jealous that he got to go to Australia. :)

  2. Oh...I love and miss you and yearn for the day when I know you are settled in Narnia and that the kids are no longer grieving this latest move. I'm so happy for facebook and the net that allow
    our families to stay in touch and grow together as the kids become adults in their own rights. I am even more humbled at how military families endure this kind of separation because mine is a cake walk by comparison!