I love it as a brand name and I loved the conference. I love the way it reminds us as parents not to miss the brevity of our parenting. I could, however, argue that it really should be 4500 days. Like spotty cell phone coverage, your children stop listening to you for a few years. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I fully realize that while my 7000 days will be up in a matter of 60 hours, I’m not done parenting. In the next 5 years, both of my children will make more critical life decisions in that half decade than they ever have before. And I’m pretty certain they’ll want some input along the way. So, while I celebrate making it to the finish line of 7000days, I’m sure there’ll be a second finish line on their wedding day… and maybe a third on that day when the Lord calls me home.
But… I can’t let this milestone pass without sharing a few observations that I hope will be an encouragement to anyone who’s wondered if they’d make it to their child’s high school graduation. I was that mom.
So, here are 3 things I wish I could’ve understood while I was on the journey…
1. It’s unrealistic to think there won’t be some unfinished business.
On Mark’s last day of school, he was just as hard to get out of bed as he was on his first. I really felt like I’d be a failure if my son couldn’t get up and out of bed on his own every day before he left my house. He can… but more days than not, I’m still opening his door and pulling back his sheets. Sometimes sweetly and sometimes grumpily, I’ve still helped his rear end out of bed. God bless his (amazing) future roommate. I’m convinced Mark will be asking him to knock on his door.
2. I’m glad we walked through some hard things while he was under our roof.
Chris and I came from very different parenting styles. I think it’s fair to say that I was very protected and Chris had a lot of free reign. Chris traveled across country by himself as a 16-year-old driver to participate in golf tournaments with no supervision… you get the picture.
Mark and Annika have landed somewhere in the middle. Left to my own parenting preference, Mark would be a much more sheltered kid. Instead, the tension of freedom and responsibility has actually allowed us to be able to parent through some of their choices while they’re still under our roof. We’ve said yes to some opportunities that we knew had some potential temptations and threats to them. They’ve not always made the right choice, but I’m so grateful that we’ve had some scratched knees and been able to be there and teach from their decisions rather than control their every move.
3. Relationship trumps a clean room.
My children have strong personalities. If they were more compliant, I might’ve had a different opinion as a mom. Somewhere along the way, however, I had to make the decision to love them for their strengths and not expect them to live according to every single one of my preferences. Every time I was around my children, I was correcting them or asking them to complete a task. They’ll attest to this. It’s still my nature. Yet by God’s grace, I’ve learned to close their bedroom doors.
Mark made me breakfast this morning and has already verified that he’s the only one of his 4 suitemates who knows how to do his own laundry. He’ll be OK… and, most importantly, he doesn’t dread seeing me. He won’t be coming home from college for great home cooking… but letting go of some expectations has allowed me to have confidence he’ll come home excited to see both his mom and dad.