It was the second night of MomLife Bootcamp, a wonderful weekend of encouragement for moms put on by FamilyLife Ministries. Four hundred or so energy-sapped but excited women converged at the beautiful Pine Cove Christian Camps in Tyler, Texas. After corporate prayer and worship, meaningful fellowship, rest and recreation in the outdoors, and plenty of sound Biblical teaching, the dance party ensued. With rock concert lighting and speakers pumping the big hits, we were skillfully (and hilariously!) dancing through the decades, pausing only for chocolate fondue. We had watched a special screening of the new movie ‘Mom’s Night Out’ the previous evening, and this was our night to put it to practice. All in good fun, of course.
The camp workers, mostly college age kids full of life and zeal, came dressed in zany costumes ready to lead the antics and show us all a good time. Nearing eleven o’clock or so, many of the moms had slowly trickled back to their cabins leaving only a few of us lingering around the perimeter of the room. It was then that these twenty something year-old girls started shouting, “Frozen! Frozen!” The designated DJ, a college dude running his laptop through a small sound system in a nearby closet, reluctantly obliged. At the top of their lungs, they sang and dramatically enacted every single word of “Let It Go.” I watched and smiled at their unbridled joy and sheer commitment to youthful fun and fancy.
Then the unexpected happened. As they continued in song, I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. Just earlier that week I had watched ‘Frozen’ in my living room in Tennessee with my newly engaged daughter and her dear friend who is also soon to be married. In that moment, it was as if time stood still and all the memories of countless movies nights, Disney princess pajamas, sing-alongs, dress up days, and bedtime prayers, came flooding in. Suddenly, I was aware that a very long and delightful chapter of my life was coming to an end. That my beautiful little girl, the youngest of two, will be the last to leave the nest. And, this, just around the corner.
I cried, sort of laughing-crying all mixed together, because of how these emotions were prompted by such a silly, seemingly unrelated moment. A moment, now forever “frozen” in time. These dear young people had put me in touch with a strange kind of loss, the kind we moms experience when we’re called upon to launch our kids into adulthood. Someone once said on the subject of parenting that “we’re not raising children, we’re raising adults.” And, eventually, there comes a time when we will have to let it go. Let them go. I believe God in His kindness was allowing me to begin to process all of that.
As I left with some of the ladies that night, I verbalized my laugh-cry and they met me with nothing but understanding and encouragement. Still, it left me wondering how much of my identity has been wrapped up in my role as Cameron and Sarah’s Mom? Am I prepared for life without someone sleeping in the bedroom down the hall? Will I embrace the silence when Disney movies are no longer playing in my living room? Or will I relish it? All ponder-worthy questions.
The next day, after the close of the conference, the women in leadership led me into a back office to pray over me, for the ministry, for my adult kids and their marriages, and for this next chapter in my life. I felt so loved and cared for. And before the books from the resource center were all packed up, I managed to snag a copy of a title that had caught my eye earlier that weekend…Barbara & Susan’s Guide to the EMPTY NEST – Discovering New Purpose, Passion & Your Next Great Adventure (Barbara Rainey & Susan Yates, FamilyLife Publishing). I’m on page 96 about the Challenge of Relinquishing Control. There’s another segment called Plan A Wedding With Care. I guess I better read that one, too.
I find it interesting to note that the theme verse for MomLife Bootcamp was Ecclisiastes 3:1 – “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Our main session topics included ‘The Girl I Was’,'The Mom I Am’, and ‘The Woman God Created Me To Be’. Lord, give me grace to finish this season well and ready me for the season ahead. I want to be your woman, whatever that looks like. And FYI, Lord, I’m in no particular hurry for grandchildren, but I certainly won’t refuse them when they come! After all, it’s the circle of life. Oh, wait, that’s another Disney movie…
As always, thanks for letting me share.
PS Not sure if the hashtagging thing works on here, but here goes my feeble attempt…
#frozen #disney #disneyprincess #lionking #momlifebootcamp #emptynest #barbararainey #susanyates