I am a mother to four kids. Today, my 3rd drove away from the house for the first time, to go on a drive to see a friend. Fresh license in his pocket, twenty bucks for the day, he was all set for adventure.
With my first and second children, I vividly recall standing in the driveway, full of emotion as I watched them drive away for the first time. Pride, excitement, joy, but also apprehension, concern, fears??? They both gave me huge hugs & smiles before one last wave. Then the back up, one more big smile and wave, before they drove away. I would stand there and watch their car go off into the distance until I couldn’t see even a speck of the car. I’d tear up, smile, pray and shake my head in a knowing release.
Today was a little different. This wave goodbye took a bit longer as my son was pairing his phone with 2012 car technology. The bluetooth finally paired, then he set up his music for the drive and launched his map. I’m standing there, coffee in hand, expectantly waiting for the iconic and memorable drive off.
With technology finally set, he looks up at me with a huge grin and starts to back away. I smile and wave back - here we go! And then, before I could realize what was happening, he uses the car garage remote to close the garage door- almost literally, on my face. Yep - stunned mom, anxious for the sentimental last glance is now staring at the inside of the garage door as the garage itself gets darker and darker. Pooh!
I shake my head and walk back inside to reheat my now cold coffee and start to marvel and how perfect that actually was. I recognize again, that no two relationships are the same. Each is incredibly unique. They are full of different experiences, require different skills to navigate, and each holds such intimate, and unanticipated connections. This morning was the epitome of that reality. Of course, he would have his own unique exit.
This makes me think about parenting, spouses, friend and family dynamics, but also about grief. No two relationships in the world are the same. When we go through episodes of mini-grief like I experienced today, or seasons of deeper grief, like when we lose someone to death, our grief will not look like any other. It is an expression of what that person represented to us personally. So others may comment we are grieving too little or too much, or won’t quite get it. We may not even get it ourselves, but that's okay. It’s not about loving or favoring someone more or less than others, but rather processing through the unique layers of those individual relationships and giving ourselves time to celebrate and grieve in each of those spaces.
There is a children’s book a friend gave me when I was having my kids. The book is called, The Room in my Heart, and it helps children understand that parents have a deep capacity to love and welcome new children into their heart and lives. It reflects John 14, where Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God ; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me so that you also may be where I am.”
If God has many rooms in His home and heart for us, and we are made in His image, it only makes sense that God gives us an abundance of rooms in our hearts to love our kids, spouses, friends and family, neighbors, and strangers in unique and intimate ways. It’s ok to celebrate those differences and give up on trying to make them all the same.
My son just called to say he arrived at his friends house safely. He said the drive was “exciting, beautiful and a little scary at times.” What a perfect description of this crazy life we get to live.
Go enjoy your drive!