changing seasons college send-off

Time to Fly: The College Countdown

10:52 AMHeather

My arms were growing tired and my body becoming weary. His nearly twenty pounds seemed to increase as I shushed and walked and rocked him.  At seven months old, my first born was sick for the first time, and doing so in grand fashion. He had a double ear infection, four molars pushing through swollen gums, a viral rash from head to toe, a fever hitting 104, and an allergic reaction to penicillin that my “trusted” pediatrician not only mishandled but also exacerbated by overdosing the antibiotic.

My poor baby boy was miserable and as a first time mom, I was worried and exhausted.

That night, our living room was filled with friends from church, as we had volunteered to host an important meeting. All the while I tried desperately to keep the baby quiet and content, locked away in his bedroom within our open concept home.

I felt as though I walked a marathon that night, pacing around his nursery, with the hand painted mural I had so carefully created to delight him. I rocked him when he would allow, but mostly he wished to be walked. I sang every song I could remember, attempting to sing loud enough to soothe him, but no so loudly as to be heard by the more discerning audience below.

I sang worship songs and Sunday School songs. I made up a million verses to The Wheels on the Bus, and I tried to convince myself that this rare night when my laid back baby boy actually preferred to be held tightly and comforted constantly would be a precious memory. I mentally considered a time, years from then, when I would wish that my son would be calmed by my comfort so fully.

Turns out I was right. And even more so than I could have imagined. 

I remember that night so vividly. The bright red flush of his warm, fevered cheeks. The sad sight of the tiny, angry red bumps covering every inch of him. The feel of his heavy body, relying on my arms to hold and protect and soothe him.

This morning, he walked into my room as I sat with my Bible and coffee, and he announced his departure for a carefree summer day.
His big grown-up self, now 18 years old and exactly 23 days from moving to college. 

We are all pacing our summer to the rate of the sand in the hour glass, when we know that our family life will begin to morph into a new season. He is squeezing in every moment of fun and freedom with his fellow college-bound high school friends, as if they hear the clock striking the hour when their friendships will shift. 

His dad and I are double checking lists and details of the move, paying tuition bills and stacking up a growing mound of dorm supplies in the corner of our formal living room. His brother and sister seem quite aware of the coming changes, as well. Sitting near him when he is home, or asking for time together.

He will always be ours, and he won’t even be far away. 

But I think we are all aware that life is about to change, and we have no idea how much or in what ways. We are simply aware that the time is drawing near for a new normal for all five of us.

And as he pops in to announce he’s off to hammock and enjoy the cooler morning, my mind travels to another summer day, eighteen years ago.

When I held his sickly infant body tightly against my own, and frantically sought to comfort him, singing over him for hours.

While a near-panic rises within my mama’s heart for the changes we now face, I allow my mind to travel back to the images and memories that the night of infant sickness conjure up so vividly.

For it’s a picture of the truth that will equip us all to step forward boldly into all the new seasons to come.

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

Indeed, Heavenly Father. Give us all ears to hear your songs over us. Quiet our frenzied hearts with your love. Remind us that you are indeed in our midst and you alone are capable of tirelessly carrying us through every moment of every day in all the changing season to come.

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