When our oldest three were young, we would go to Walmart a lot, it seemed (now I avoid it and drive extra miles and spend a little more, just to go to Target or Sams instead!). I usually had two shopping carts for groceries and the three kids until they were older or I didn't need as much, then I would let them walk in front of or behind me. I would tell them they were like little ducks in a row and I was the momma duck, keeping them in line. Oh, those were the days! I miss those days. We call them "B.T." because it was before the youngest, Tyler, was born. I would love to go back to those days, but have Tyler little then, too! I absolutely loved those days!
Now we have great days, too, but they are different. This summer was a different summer because our daughter was gone the majority of it, but it was nice because our oldest son wasn't gone much at all and neither were the younger two. Since the oldest was gone a lot, though, we really didn't have a lot of "whole family" times. When we did have it, we made the most of it. This past weekend we requested no cell phones, no computers, no plans - just family time. We cooked, ate good meals together, played games, watched a few movies....just spent time together before the oldest two packed up and moved to college.
Tears came during the lead up to the morning they left. Thankfully our whole family was able to go, unexpectedly. The middle son ended up needing an appointment in Oklahoma City and the only day open was moving day, unless we wanted to wait until the end of September. Since five of us were going, the youngest thought he needed to go, too. Some people would think it was bad to get him out of school for that. We don't. Family time is special to us, even more important than other important things, at times. We wouldn't make a habit of it, but for that day, it was worth it.
My husband wrote about our oldest boy leaving for college (posted below). For two years it's been just the three boys here together with us. It's hard with him gone. The youngest one misses him terribly. I've been okay, surprisingly. I think it's because I know that it's best for Zachary. He's 19. He's been "grown up" for several years. When he writes that he's going with friends up there already, I am thankful. He met some of them on his trip to Vienna and it was time for him to be away from home. In school, he had lots of friends, but he spent his time, for the most part, with his brothers and all of us. He will enjoy making life-long friends at college. I'm excited for him, even though seeing his empty room across from ours is tough.
We love you very, very much. We are proud of who you are, what you stand for, who you live for, and most of all, for allowing God to direct your path as you follow the example of Jesus. We look forward to seeing what He has in store for your life!
Mom and Dad
Written by Joe...
Two years ago I wrote of our daughter, Lauren, going off to college and how we would miss her and that we would be praying for her. Now she is a junior, and I still miss her. I still pray for her daily and often throughout the day. But now there is a new twist to life, my oldest son, Zachary, left home yesterday for college.
Dads think differently of their boys than they do their girls. They always have and always will. Our daughters are the ones we want to protect and we want to be their heroes. I believe we try to make our sons an extension of us. We don't want them to do the same as we did, but we want them to do better. We want them to treat people better than we did. We want them to succeed in areas we didn't. So many of us get caught up in trying to live our lives through them, that it sometimes it causes a strain in our relationships.
I can honestly say that God blessed me with three very special sons, and I will miss all of them when they leave, I do hope it will get easier to let them go, but I don't think it will.
As far as Zachary is concerned, he passed me years ago in the character department. He's so mature. We have felt like we were raising an adult for the past several years. He has been a Christian example to me for the past few years. Watching him grow as a Christian and not give in to peer pressure has not only been an example to others, but also an encouragement to me. I know he will do well, and I know God has great plans for him. Men have a hard time talking to each other about how we really feel. And it's hard for me to express the love and pride I have for Zachary.
When I come home from work or from speaking about the Tipton Children's Home somewhere, or preaching, the first thing I notice is the cars in the driveway. (From Lori: It looks like a used car lot. A very USED car lot!) Coming home at noon today and not seeing Zachary or Lauren's car in the driveway reminded me that life is short and our the time with our kids is even shorter.
Let me encourage all of you who are reading this to spend time with your children, talk to them, love them.
I will pray for each of my kids every day, but I will say a special prayer for Lauren and Zachary. It's so much easier when they're at home. I do hope it gets easier....I miss them....
Evangelizing: Reach Out
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