The Word Weaver
Inviting you to know & embrace Jesus Christ
Deb Weaver
"Seat Reserved for Moms"
by The Word Weaver, Deb on June 22nd, 2013

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks regaining my equilibrium.  My steps have been unsteady since I stepped off the roller coaster ride that’s reserved for mothers of high school seniors.  It was quite a ride.  And since I tend to feel things deeply and process them slowly with space and solitude, I haven’t been able to adequately express my thoughts until now. 
Normally, I’m all up for a roller coaster ride.  Seat belted, hands in the air, mouth wide open.  (If you hate prolonged high-pitched screams, you might want to skip riding with me.)  It’s tough to say no to the heady mix of anticipation, dread, excitement, and terror a roller coaster brings.  Last year, I even let my younger brother talk me into a seventeen second ride. Yes, you read that correctly—17 seconds of sheer, straight-in-the-air and plummeting-back-to-earth, stroke-producing panic called Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point (--do check out the video once you click the link!)  I didn’t even have time to scream on that one! 
I’d ridden this particular roller coaster six years previously when my daughter graduated so when I received my invitation to board, I entered confidently.  I was an old pro and boarded it knowingly.  I expected it to be emotional.  I anticipated the highs and lows, twists and turns. 
Emotions are at the helm of this ride.  A strange concoction of sadness, love, grief, pride, happiness, excitement, regret, and worry controls the direction and speed. I was prepared.
Or so I thought.
It’s funny how something familiar can turn you on your head.  It was a completely different ride this time.   Oh, some aspects were the same—there was the normal mix of emotions—but the hairpin turns were placed in strange spots.  I rocketed and plunged at the whim of my heart.  My stomach flipped at bizarre times.   The oddest things triggered tears.  I clung to the bar, wide-eyed and reeling.    Apparently different kid, different ride!  (Heck, different mom, different ride—but that’s another story!)
With my eldest, the big events brought the waterworks.  Every concert, function, and ceremony was a last, and I grieved the closing of a chapter.  This time ’round, I was quieter.  The events triggered less sadness, but the moments in-between jolted me.  Hard. 
And I discovered just how tired I was.  Parts of the ride were spent squeezing my heart shut tight, gritting my teeth, and praying for survival.  I was convinced that I was too old and far too tired to be allowed on the ride; I’d have jumped off if they’d slowed the ride a little.  (Instead of a height requirement perhaps they should consider barring moms who are over the age limit.  Oh, I guess not—imagine the lawsuits that would ensue!)
The passage and perspective of time baffled me most.  The ride played tricks with my heart and my eyes. I’d look at this handsome, bearded, grown man seated next to me; then I’d blink, and my heart pictured him at age three—my baby.  The flashbacks occurred repeatedly, sending me careening down memory lane.
There have been times over the years that he’s barely made it.  For instance, when he was four and I was a lot younger (ahem), I remarked how I wanted to be like a woman we admired when I grew up.  My daughter said, “I thought you were grown up.”  I responded, “Well, not all the way.  I’ll be grown up when I get to be ninety.”  The cute little bugger said, “Ninety?  I thought you were ninety!”
During the year and a half that we homeschooled during seventh and eighth grade, we discovered where he got his stubbornness.  Our clashes marked that season, and only God’s grace pulled us through it.
Recently, he made a mad dash to complete requirements for graduation.  It’s amazing how motivated a kid can get when a diploma is on the line.  And there’s nothing like a dramatic departure.  It’s a darn good thing I love that kid!   At least I can laugh about it now! 
Looking back made me recognize a universal truth:  time evaporates.  Most days, I gripped harder to gratitude and grace than to grief or regrets.  I tried to savor the man he’s become more than mourning the little-boy-no-more.  There were shining moments when I was brave enough to raise my arms into the air, relish the winds of time whipping my face, and exult in the joyride.  But there were other instances when I wanted to curl into a ball and mournfully wail a wild cry powerful enough to turn back time. 
I suppose that’s the nature of motherhood.  It’s natural to pine for the past, to momentarily wallow in what was.  I just don’t want to set up permanent residence there.

Though my heart constricts because I have absolutely loved being a mom and I yearn for certain moments in time, I don’t want to miss the wonder of now—the gift of who my children are today.  This is the one role I want to relish regardless of what ride it is.  And regardless of how much you may have heard me scream to get off this roller coaster of motherhood, I’m thankful I’m securely strapped in, experiencing the whole realm of emotion and everything in between.  It’s a privilege. 
I’m reminded of Ann Voskamp’s beautiful words in her blog:  
"Don’t grieve that it’s gone, wonder that it was.
Laugh that you lived and dance that you dared.
Inhale that it happened — and it was grace.

And I memorize the light and the mess of us and the ABC’s of living and them all here and us right now and that — that is how to make the smallest life big and grand –
The best way to prepare for what’s ahead is to be present to what is now.

Be present to the gift of now.
And right then –the sheer sheen of grace on everything lights."

My last child is no longer in school.  And now that I’ve regained some of my equilibrium, I’m ready to board the next adventure as mom to two unique adults and eventually (please, Lord Jesus)  that of the empty nest.   I have no advice other than to hang on, savor it all as a gift of grace, love extravagantly, and pray unceasingly. 
Copyright 2013 The Word Weaver, Deb Weaver

Posted in Life Transitions, This Parenting Gig    Tagged with Motherhood, Roller Coasters, Graduation, Emotional


Danette - June 24th, 2013 at 10:17 AM
Wow. That does say it all. Life moves forward and the next ride can be so breath taking you won't want to miss a moment.
The Word Weaver, Deb - June 24th, 2013 at 11:37 AM
Thanks for visiting the blog, commenting, and sharing it, Danette! I appreciate it.
teresa - June 24th, 2013 at 6:19 PM
Ah, put it perfectly. This year has definitely been a ride! It is amazing how strange when the chapter of Parenting closes and now it's on to discovering the new boundaries of Young Adulthood. I'm there with you, sister!
The Word Weaver, Deb - June 24th, 2013 at 7:25 PM
Glad to have a fun seatmate, friend!
Kimberly - June 25th, 2013 at 7:29 PM
Love, love, love your perspective on the stages of motherhood! And I had a double-take at the picture! Nice picture of him (and you)! :) Time passes too quickly...but it is good to live in the here and now. :)
The Word Weaver, Deb - June 25th, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Thanks, Kimberly, for taking the time to comment! Yes--it's hard to believe how grown he now looks and is! Miss you!
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