I don’t mean the weather, though it finally does feel like winter here in Texas. I’m talking about motherhood. There are so many phases we walk through as moms, and as each fades behind me I find myself sad to see it go. Even when it seems silly and small. The latest – swing sets.
A swing set has been a permanent fixture in our yard since my kids were tiny. They have spent hours upon hours climbing, sliding and swinging. Our yard is now barren of the landmark of childhood – the gargantuan stake in the ground that says “Little people live here.”
And so now, we move on. The transition began when we got a trampoline at Christmas. In our current home, our yard is extremely sloped, so there are limited areas to place any type of structure. Our enormous swing set required us to place the trampoline directly in front of the porch. Like, as soon as you step off of the concrete, in front of the porch.
Since December, my kids’ love for the trampoline has far surpassed their care for the swing set. Except for one child. Believe it or not, it’s our oldest. Miss Maya has loved to swing ever since she was a baby, and even now at 14 she swings almost every single day. We jokingly call it her swing therapy. When people ask her about her hobbies, most times she includes swinging in the list. (She also includes it when the doctor asks about exercise, which then requires a great deal of self-control on my part to keep from giggling.) So we were left with a quandary. We had to have a swing for Maya, but we had this huge swing set taking up a ton of space with no one else using it.
In comes Jeff with a solution.
That’s right. He built Maya a singular swing just for her. Now we have our porch back, a ton more room in the yard, and we are holding off on the counseling bills for a little bit longer. We’re calling it an all around win.
And yet, it represents something greater to me – the kids growing up and growing older. Lately, I really miss the squishy cheeks and bottoms. And the silly songs I sang to them when they could only swing if they were pushed. I find myself having to remember more than ever the goal of parenting – to point our kids to Jesus so as they grow, they will become less dependent on us and more dependent on Him. I want to snuggle them up and keep them close forever, but loving them through each season and letting go a little more each step of the way is our calling.
So Jeff and I do the things teen parents do. We pray, search Scripture for guidance, read books about boundaries, seek wisdom from those who have walked ahead of us, process, cry, pray some more, and then do everything we can to meet their needs without crossing those boundaries we read about – even to the point of building strange contraptions in the backyard.
May we all be faithful to continue to train them up in the way they should go and trust the Father with each new season ahead.