By the time you read this, my husband and I will be empty-nesters. One and done. That’s how we jokingly refer to our role as parents of an only child. We had more than 18 years to help mold, shape and guide this young man. Did we get it right? Have I savored these days and years, or have I just moved through parenthood trying to solve and survive each day?
I’ve tried to prepare myself for this time since the day he was born. Those first days and weeks were filled with feedings and questions about sleep patterns and positions. I held him in my arms and wondered where the time was going.
As years passed, there were more questions. Who had the best educational philosophy to nurture his desire to learn and his independence, yet show him how to work with others and share ideas? And that was preschool.
As our son approached kindergarten, we were faced with what seemed at the time to be the most important question we would face as parents, one that would influence his education for years to come: Do we hold him back? Or do we send him on? For parents of children with late summer birthdays, this seems to be a common quandary. Should we give our child another year to mature? The kindergarten teacher asked if we preferred that, when the time came, he would be the first one in his class to get his driver’s license or the last one. I also remember thinking: He’ll be 19 before he goes to college–we’ll have him with us an extra year.
An only child myself, I recall the day I left for college. My car was packed, keys in hand. My father, sitting in his chair at the kitchen table, began to pray and then broke down in tears. His only child was leaving home.
What got my parents through that day? Faith, prayer and the confidence that God would look after me. My parents’ faith was the foundation of all they passed along to me. I, in turn, have tried to pass that along to my child.
There will be moments for him, as for us all, when he may doubt himself and even doubt that God is there. My prayer is that we’ve laid a foundation of faith for him to know he is never alone.
Photo of Candice with her husband and newborn